Bong Go urged DoH to act: COVID-19 patient died after refused by 4 Metro Manila hospitals

August 20, 2020
Bong Go

After constantly reminding authorities to look into alleged hospital refusals of Filipino patients amid the pandemic, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go repeated his demand for answers on said incidents and urged the Department of Health to act on the cases and release the results of its investigations on earlier complaints.

“Has the DOH already investigated these cases? What is the status of the investigation? Ano na ang mga hakbang na ginawa upang mapanagot ang mga ospital na tumangging magbigay ng paunang lunas sa mga pasyente?,” Go asked. 

“Bilang chair ng Senate Committee on Health, nanawagan na ako noon na aksyunan na ang mga napapaulat na pagtaboy ng mga ospital sa mga kababayan nating nangangailangan ng tulong medikal,” he added.

Go cited that the country’s health sector is under immense scrutiny after another death was reported recently. The story highlighted the experience of deceased Richmond Rondanilla, a former government worker who had all the symptoms of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and was in his worst condition, yet was reportedly refused by four hospitals in Metro Manila. 

Rondanilla’s family expressed their anger and sadness over the incident as they sought answers from authorities about who should be held accountable for the death of their loved one. 

“Ilang buhay pa ba ang mawawala para matuldukan na ang ganitong mga pangyayari? Pakiusap lang po, pakinggan ninyo ang mga hinaing at reklamo ng mga ordinaryong Pilipino,” Go lamented. 

“’Wag na po natin kawawain ang kawawa at pahirapan pa ang mga naghihirap,” Go further appealed. 

Republic Act 10932 states that a patient is allowed for transfer only after necessary emergency treatment and support have been administered to a patient. The previous cases before Rondanilla also shared similar circumstances — they were refused emergency treatments by hospitals for various reasons.

“Our laws are clear and must be strictly enforced to protect the lives and welfare of our people. These alleged incidents are in clear violation of Republic Act 10932 which allows the transfer of a patient only after necessary emergency treatment and support have been administered to stabilize the patient,” Go explained.

In previous reports, a woman in Caloocan City died during childbirth after being turned away by six hospitals citing full capacity while another facility allegedly asked for a deposit payment before admission. These facilities allegedly cited that they lacked available space for in-patients and were short on blood supply.

At least three Filipino patients also died after reportedly being refused treatment by various hospitals. A pregnant woman in Manila died after being turned down by four hospitals while another patient expired after reportedly being turned away by as many as six hospitals in Cabanatuan City in Nueva Ecija. Also in Caloocan, a female patient was also allegedly turned away by nine hospitals without receiving any emergency treatment. Similar complaints were also reported of parents of two infants who died in separate incidents after officials of a hospital in Manila City allegedly refused to admit them.

Go is also urging hospitals to provide the right kind of medical service that Filipinos deserve.

“Sa mga ospital, ibigay ninyo ang serbisyong dapat ibigay. Magtulungan po tayo. Kayo po ang tinitingala namin dahil sa sakripisyo at serbisyo ninyo sa pagligtas ng buhay ng mga may sakit,” he said highlighting the huge role of medical frontliners and the country’s admiration for their service and dedication amid the crisis.

“Pero hindi naman namin mapapalampas kung kayo mismo ang naging dahilan ng pagkawala ng buhay ng kapwa nating Pilipino,” Go said.

The Senator is also requesting the National Task Force on COVID-19 as well as the Department of Justice and National Bureau of Investigation, “to put an end to this and hold hospital administrators who are found guilty of not fulfilling their medical responsibility accountable.”

“Let me remind you that every time you let this pass, lives are lost,” he added

In his previous statements, Go stressed that accepting patients into hospitals is of paramount importance especially with the health crisis the country is currently facing due to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

“Ilang beses na akong umapela sa mga ospital na huwag itaboy ang mga pasyente, lalong lalo na ang mga nangangailangan ng emergency care,” Go said. 

He also echoed before the President’s remarks that hospitals are the sanctuary of the sick and that they should not choose the ailment of the patient they are accepting and that hospitals that cannot attend to patients who need immediate medical attention should be penalized.