Bangladesh doctors fear for opposition ex-PM Khaleda Zia’s life

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Doctors treating the ex-PM say they fear for her life if she was not allowed to fly abroad for medical care.

Bangladesh doctors treating ailing opposition leader and ex-Prime Minister Khaleda Zia say they fear for her life if she is not allowed to fly abroad for medical care.

Zia, the 76-year-old leader of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and archrival of current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, has been diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver. Her doctors said she suffered three big internal bleeds 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 on Sunday 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 bleed 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 a 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 transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt, a medical procedure he said was available only in medically advanced countries such Germany, the UK, and the US.

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 corruption charges in 2018.

As her condition has worsened, BNP activists and supporters have staged protests across the country, demanding she be allowed to travel for treatment.


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