Bangladeshi doctors who treat ailing opposition leader and former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia said on Sunday they feared for her life if she was not allowed to travel abroad for medical treatment.
Zia, 76, rival of current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, has been diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver. Her doctors said she had suffered from three massive internal hemorrhages in the past two weeks.
“We don’t have the means and the supporting technology … here to control and stop recurrences,” his chief medical officer Fakhruddin Mohammad Siddiqui told reporters at his home, flanked by four other doctors from his medical team.
He said there was a 50 percent chance that Zia would suffer from another internal bleeding next week, and a 70 percent chance that it would happen in the next six weeks.
“The chances of controlling re-bleeding are slim,” he said. “In this case, there is a higher risk of his death.”
“If we want to save the patient’s life, we have to do TIPS,” he said, referring to a sophisticated medical procedure that he said was only available in developed countries such as the United States. United, Great Britain and Germany.
Zia has been in the intensive care unit of a Dhaka hospital since November 13, just five months after recovering from Covid-19.
But the leader of the main opposition party was banned by a court from leaving the country after being convicted of corruption in 2018.
As her condition worsened, activists and supporters of her Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) staged protests across the country, demanding that she be allowed to travel abroad for treatment.
In the northern district of Natore, around 20 people were injured on 22 November during clashes between BNP activists and the police.
Earlier this month, Hasina appeared to reject appeals from Zia’s family and her party.
“I have done all I can for Khaleda Zia. Now the law will decide the next course of action,” Hasina said at a press briefing.
A minister also suggested that the BNP bring in doctors from abroad.
Zia was sentenced to 10 years in prison in February 2018 on corruption charges which the BNP, last in power from 2001 to 2006, said was politically motivated.
She was released in March last year as her condition worsened in a prison where she was the only detainee. Since then, she is no longer allowed to fly abroad and is treated in a local hospital.
Her doctors and her party allege Zia – who suffers from heart failure, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes – was not treated properly when she was jailed.