October 12, 2007

The Tragedy of Our Lives - Rahat Dewan Khan: RIP

On the 26th of September, a NSU lecturer was murdered by suspected muggers. "Tragic" might be your response. Perhaps you will recall: there but for the grace of God go I. I humbly request you to reconsider.

Tragedy occurs when fate conspires to deal a blow to human beings. But when human beings cause each other to suffer, it's called something else: stupidity, carelessness, even criminal negligence. I reproduce below the account of one of the students of the late Mr. Karim who accompanied him to the hospital. I urge you all to take five minutes to read it in full.

I found it on this facebook group dedicated to his memory, and here's the link to the original if you have facebook. The author wishes to remain anonymous.

I have almost little idea about the state of our healthcare sector or our emergency response services. While we spend so much energy worrying about phantom conspiracies and what our netris are eating in jail, these "unimportant" issues get no attention whatsoever.


Reading the first few lines of this article will probably get you thinking that this is one of those same old boring articles trying to get a point out to the world, blah, blah, blah…. I assure you this is nothing like that. It takes a lot of nerves to sit down right now and write this article. Let me tell you why. I just came back home from the Dhaka Medical College Hospital. Not some place anyone would like to go everyday, but unfortunately some of us are unlucky to end up there somehow or another.

Since you already heard the word hospital you can guess this is not going to be pleasant. Well I’m sorry to disappoint you but I have been left with no other choice. A couple of hours ago one of our respected teachers has passed away. Everyone must go when their time comes, I’m not arguing about that. But how does it feel if that person is a young man in his early thirties? To make things worse he had no physical complications. The reason why he has passed away today is because he was murdered. Yes!! I repeat HE WAS MURDERED. A simple man living his day to day life was returning home, but he was unlucky to become one of the victims of our well known hijackers.

Do you know how people in distress are treated in Bangladesh? Let me help you if you don’t. Mr. Dewan Rahat Karim was a lecturer of North South University. He used to teach us accounting and management. He was a fun loving person. Someone you would love to become friends with and believe me when I say this none of his students will disagree to that statement. He had Iftar with our honorable Vice Chancellor and then took class from 7 till 8:20 pm. After classes he doesn’t roam about but rather goes straight back home. A couple of hours went by and his family members started to worry. His father-in-law went out to search for him. Tragedy struck when he found sir at Dhaka Medical College Hospital.

The police said they found him near the army stadium, but there was no reason for him to go in that direction, he lives in Dhanmondi. When his relatives arrived at DMC they found him locked in a room with no doctors or even nurses to aid him. His brothers cried for help. They looked everywhere for a doctor but no one came. The doctors have already announced him dead. His students ran and got oxygen for him. Some of them even said they could feel a pulse, but who cares? They tried to take him out to another hospital, they weren’t allowed. Apparently it’s the law ?. Funny, isn’t it? We have a law to take a person all the way from Uttara to DMC regardless of whether that person could have survived if he received treatment a few minutes earlier.

Two hours went by and a doctor finally came. But its no use he’s already long gone. Are these people actually doctors? Who gave them their degree? Oh opps maybe they are doctors with a degree and all but you know what I’ll let you in on a little secret. They’re not human beings.

Anyone reading this right now would agree with me right now a person’s life comes above all else. I guess the doctors at DMC disagree with us here. To them its already too late, “what’s gone is gone” I guess. Well what can we do? Nothing I guess. All of us just sat there outside the room and watched as Sir passed away in front of our eyes.

If you haven’t stopped reading yet I suggest you spend just 5 minutes of your life and read the rest of this article. This is a humble appeal to everyone out there – men, women, children, it doesn’t matter. Help us. Help us change the situation of this country.

What would you want to do if your brother, God forbid, passed away. Wouldn’t you want to wash his body and make all preparations for his burial? Poor Mr. Dewan’s family isn’t that lucky tonight. They have to wait till the morning when someone performs an autopsy. Why cant they just do that now? Well there’s no one to do it. Ridiculous isn’t it? Why’d you keep the hospital then? There’s no doctors to attend the patients, there are no doctors to perform an autopsy, there even isn’t someone to get a freaking oxygen cylinder!!

As we stood there weeping. A police van came along. They brought three men in handcuffs. One screaming at the top of his lungs in pain. They were brought here for medical treatment. Now here’s the interesting part. Let me take you through the procedures. The men stood there as the police officers shook hands with numerous people. Then they went and filled up some register books and then everyone just stood there. 20 minutes already gone by. No one came to treat the men. Guess it was too much to ask for or they’re criminals why should they be treated?

As for the people who did this to our beloved sir I hope you’re literate enough to read this. How could you be so cruel? How could you do something so inhuman? You want the cell phone? Take it. You want the wallet? Take it. Take everything for god’s sake, but why do you have to kill someone for it. Doesn’t anyone ever think about the consequences? What will happen to his wife? They were married for just a couple of years. What will happen to his father? His mother? Will all her screams and tears bring her loved one back?

Sir was strangled to death and then dropped in front of army stadium where the police apparently picked him up from. They found spices in his eyes I’m guessing the muggers rubbed it in so that he couldn’t see their faces. Hijacker did what they had to. We know they dont belong to the society and their activity is not something we should monitor. But the POLICE & the DOCTORS are the part of society & itz a shame for us. POLICE & DOCTORS are the killers of our honorable faculty member. Not the hijackers. If it was a developped country both of these two groups would have been punished. but since its Bangladesh, they wont even have to bother. I doubt whether our university will protest these shame of the society's behaviour or not. It's us who should protest.

As for NSU congratulations you just lost another great teacher. Keep taking the money from the students for your NON PROFIT business. Cause you know as long as you people pay, someone will come to teach & others will forget about what you do when it comes to the benefits of your faculty members. A safer transport system for the faculty members throught out the semester would not cost you not more then the Semester fee of 10 students. but still thats a huuuge amount for you I guess.

-Written by a nsu student


Anonymous said...

Asif, thank you for posting this. I want to say a number of things, but none I can say in a comment. Shame.

Rumi said...

Asif.. Working on this subject is my dream. Can we mobilize that facebook group towrds an organized healthy emergency care campaign? Please read a rather long but related write up. ( In Bangla)


tacit said...

I remember going to visit the CCU at NCCVD last year. First, we could not get the attention for even a single doctor for our patient. Then later, when Dr. Nur Mohammed and Dr. Nazrul came and formed a medical board, every other doctor in the CCU abondoned their patients and milled about ours.

asif said...

Mash,I was as outraged when I read it.

tacit, I hope your patient was ok.

Rumi bhai, why don't you join that group and bring up the idea? NSU students like students everywhere have a lot of energy, all they need is some well-intentioned person to point them in the right direction. This is an important issue, and it could lead to some much needed interaction between public medical colleges and private universities like NSU.

Apnar article ta portesi dhir gotitey, ekhono shesh kori nai. Best line was: "In our country we've seen traffic stop for ministerial motorcades. In this country, they stop for people who need emergency care."

tacit said...

He made it through, thank God. After a night at the CCU, he was transferred to a cabin and hated the level of service there so much that he just walked out of there by himself.

fugstar said...

Allah Grant him Jannah.

Some sharp consumer activism on the health sector a la naders raiders is painfully needed wrt the medical culture.