DMCH Burn Unit
A field report from Rishin, a SpaandanB representative:
Despite the incredibly horrible conditions I knew I was to face in the Burn Unit of the Dhaka Medical College Hospital, I was not afraid. Nor was I hesitant. For I knew that, while many of these these patients may be in the most grotesque and painful conditions of any in the hospital, many of them were also the easiest to help. For a burn patient, the deciding factor between a small scar and a life of shame, pain and extremely unsightly features can often be something very small, such as the availability of bandages or oinments.
Since my last visit to the unit two years ago, much had changed. There were no longer shortages of bandages, the ward was more orderly, and an entire new building had been built solely for the Burn Unit, rescuing the patients from their formerly cramped conditions. The unit still smelled strongly of ointments, sweat and burned flesh, but it was much cleaner now. Despite the improvements in the ward, the conditions of the patients were still awful. We passed a child being held up by his mother because both his legs were bandaged from waist to toe. We spoke to the sister of a woman who was lying on a hospital bed, missing much of the skin on her face from an acid attack. We spoke to another woman who was walking around the ward because she had nowhere to go. She held out her hands to show us how her fingers had been burned with an iron by her in-laws. Although her hands had been bandaged and taken care of weeks ago, she remained in the hospital because she had no one to return to.
During my ride home from the hospital, I thought back to the patients and how things had changed since the last time I had visited the Burn Unit. The efforts of the volunteers and donors of SpaandanB had allowed for the new building to be built, for the supply rooms to remain stocked, and for the stories of these people to be known and heard. Despite their extreme suffering, each of the patients expressed gratitude, either with enthusiastic words or merely through a smile, for the care they had received. While we have no control over the tragic circumstances that place these patients in the hospital, we can alleviate their pains and save them further suffering and humiliation by offering just a little of what we have been blessed with.