The doctors overseeing the treatment of BNP Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia say that she is in “critical condition” and they are running out of options to improve her condition with the treatment available in Bangladesh.
It is recommended that Khaleda be swiftly transferred to a multi-disciplinary centre abroad, said Prof FM Siddiqui on behalf of the team overseeing the former prime minister’s care at a briefing at Evercare Hospital on Monday.
“Water is collecting in her stomach,” he said. “There is an infection in her lungs and a small amount of bleeding in her stomach. Since she was admitted to the hospital, we have given her four bags of blood. The true situation is quite complicated and difficult. Our medical board and all the doctors associated with it are keeping her under 24-hour close observation and continuing her treatment.”
“But, we have reached the point where we have pretty much exhausted all of our next options for treatment. There’s not much else we can do ourselves.”
If doctors were able to perform a TIPS procedure – in which new connections are made between blood vessels in the liver to fix severe issues – two years ago, the water may not have collected and she might not be bleeding, he said.
“As a doctor, it is very difficult to watch a patient with a treatable disease gradually deteriorate in front of our eyes as we cannot do everything possible. There is still time.”
“Today, as a member of the medical board, I would like to unanimously inform everyone involved that if the TIPS procedure is performed and she is admitted to an advanced multi-disciplinary centre abroad after the operation and a liver transplant is arranged, we still have the option to improve her condition.”
The TIPS procedure is needed immediately and is not performed in Bangladesh, he said.
“It is a life-saving procedure that is not available in Bangladesh. We don’t do liver transplants here either.”
Asked about liver transplants that have previously been done in Bangladesh, Dr AQM Mohsen, another member of Khaleda’s team of doctors, said:
“One or two have been performed here on what can be described as an experimental basis. We do not have the necessary set up for the liver transplant, we do not have the necessary manpower or the proper surgery.”
Khaleda is in critical condition, he said.
Dr Shahabuddin Talukder, the cardiologist who leads the team of doctors, said the BNP chief had been transferred from her cabin to the CCU because there is ‘every chance of collapse’.
“Madam has heart issues. She has had a ring attached. She has two blockages. Every time we extract water there is a chance of collapse. That is why we have taken her to the CCU to extract the water. That is the situation.”
The former prime minister was admitted to Evercare Hospital on Aug 9. Her condition has since deteriorated due to liver complications, which has led to her being taken to the Critical Care Unit several times.
On Sept 25, Khaleda’s family petitioned the home ministry to allow her to travel abroad to seek medical treatment. The law ministry turned down the application.
The 78-year-old BNP chief has been suffering from a number of health complications for a long time, including issues relating to arthritis, heart disease, her lungs, liver, kidneys and diabetes.