Bangladeshi doctors fear for Khaleda Zia’s life

Published November 29, 2021
Opposition leader and ex-premier Khaleda Zia. — AFP/File photo
Opposition leader and ex-premier Khaleda Zia. — AFP/File photo

DHAKA: Bangladeshi doctors treating ailing opposition leader and ex-premier Khaleda Zia said on Sunday they feared for her life if she was not allowed to fly abroad for medical care.

Zia, 76, arch-rival of current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, has been diagnosed with liver cirrhosis. Her doctors said she suffered three massive internal bleedings in the past two weeks.

“We don’t have the means and supportive technology... here to control and stop rebleeding,” her chief doctor Fakhruddin Mohammad Siddiqui told reporters at her home, flanked by four other doctors on her medical team.

He said there was a 50 percent chance that Zia would suffer another internal bleeding in the next week, and a 70 percent chance it would occur in the next six weeks.

“The chances of controlling the rebleeding are slim,” he said. “In that case, there is higher risk of her death.” “If we want to save the life of the patient, we need to do TIPS,” he said, referring to a sophisticated medical procedure that he said was available only in developed countries such the United States, Britainand Germany. Zia has been in the critical care unit of a Dhaka hospital since November 13, just five months after she recovered from Covid-19.

But the leader of the main opposition party has been barred by a court from leaving the country after being convicted on graft charges in 2018.

As her condition has worsened, activists and supporters of her Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) have staged protests across the country, demanding she be allowed to travel abroad for treatment. In the northern district of Natore, about 20 people were injured on November 22 when BNP activists clashed with police.

Hasina earlier this month appeared to reject Zia’s family and her party’s pleas.

“I have done whatever I can for Khaleda Zia. Now the law will decide the next course of action,” Hasina told a press briefing.

A minister also suggested that the BNP fly in doctors from abroad.

Zia was sentenced to 10 years in prison in February 2018 on graft charges that the BNP, which was last in power from 2001 to 2006, says were politically motivated.

She was released in March last year as her condition worsened in a jail where she was the only inmate. She has since been barred from flying abroad and has been receiving treatment from a local hospital.

Her doctors and party allege that Zia — who is suffering from heart failure, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes — was not treated properly when she was imprisoned.

Published in Dawn, November 29th, 2021

Opinion

Editorial

Kindness needed
Updated 20 Jun, 2024

Kindness needed

This year’s World Refugee Day theme — solidarity with refugees — includes keeping our borders accessible and addressing the hurdles they face.
Fitch’s budget note
20 Jun, 2024

Fitch’s budget note

PAKISTAN’S ongoing economic crisis is multifaceted. At one end, the government must pursue stabilisation policies...
Cruelty to animals
20 Jun, 2024

Cruelty to animals

TWO recent incidents illustrate the immense cruelty many in this country subject voiceless animals to. In the first...
Price bombs
Updated 18 Jun, 2024

Price bombs

It just wants to take the easy route and enjoy the ride for however long it is in power.
Palestine’s plight
Updated 17 Jun, 2024

Palestine’s plight

While the faithful across the world are celebrating with their families, thousands of Palestinian children have either been orphaned, or themselves been killed by the Israeli aggressors.
Profiting off denied visas
Updated 19 Jun, 2024

Profiting off denied visas

The staggering rejection rates underscore systemic biases in the largely non-transparent visa approval process.