The number of patients at Mymensingh Medical College Hospital (MMCH) is gradually increasing following the withdrawal of shutdown last month.
Back in the pre-shutdown days, the hospital's outdoor department saw around 4,500 patients per day. While the numbers are nowhere near that yet, signs of a gradual return to normalcy can be observed. Post-shutdown, the outdoor has seen around 700 to 800 patients a day -- a stark improvement on the 200 to 250 daily visits during shutdown, said hospital sources.
Like outdoor, the emergency department's visits have also increased in the last month and a half.
Pre-pandemic, the emergency saw more than 700 patients per day, which came down to 150 to 175 during the shutdown. The rush at the emergency has increased to around 300 daily visits now.
In addition, doctors are also earning plaudits for their services, as patients have expressed satisfaction with treatment services.
Raju Sheikh, an honours student at Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University, came to the outdoor for his brother's follow-up treatment.
"My brother, a truck driver, got injured in a road accident on June 28 and was immediately brought to MMCH. Doctors at the emergency took care of him and released him on the same day," he told this correspondent.
"Doctors also suggested that we visit the outdoor for follow-ups," he added.
Mina Rani (55) came to the hospital all the way from Netrakona's Kalmakanda. She accompanied her husband, who had suffered a stroke.
Mina was in anxiety over whether the hospital would admit her husband, especially since she cannot afford private hospitals. Fortunately for the couple, after examining at the emergency department, her husband was admitted to the hospital. "I am relieved that we can receive the service during such a critical time," she said.
As the number of patients are still comparatively low, patients can take their treatment maintaining social distancing too, said Taslima Akter, who came to MMCH's outdoor with her two and half-year-old son, who is suffering from a kind of skin disease.
Some 20 doctors are assigned for duty for outdoor patients while nine work at the emergency department by rotation, said Dr Md Zakiul Islam, assistant director of MMCH.
Like patients, the hospital staff has had its fair share of woes during the pandemic. Of the 365 medical staff who tested positive in Mymensingh district (as of July 14), 315 including 66 doctors, 123 nurses and 126 other staff are from MMCH alone, said Dr Laxmi Narayan Majumder, deputy director of the hospital.
Out of the infected medical staff, 52 doctors, 83 nurses and 88 staff members have been recovered and joined duty, said the deputy director.
The scenario has improved after the hospital authorities set up a "Triage Booth" at the entrance of the emergency department at the beginning of June. The booth is used to know the history of patients with a view to sorting them in three zones of Covid-19 risk -- red, yellow and green, assistant director Dr Zakiul said.
"After introducing the booth, the rate of infection among hospital staff has come down remarkably," he said.