DU30 warns hospitals, mayors vs turning down patients, failure to implement social distancing measures

April 14, 2020

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Monday evening issued a stern warning against hospitals that refuse admission to critically ill patients as well as mayors who do not implement social distancing measures in their respective cities during the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) amid the new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Duterte was apparently bothered by a report that a critically ill patient died after being turned away by six hospitals in Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija.

“Alam ninyo mali 'yan. So ‘pag totoo 'yan, I will really ask the Justice Department to prosecute you. Kasi alam niyo na hindi puwede 'yan,” Duterte said in his televised address.

“Especially the government hospital, you could just have looked for a house diyan, or kuwarto adjunct sa hospital at i-sanitize na ninyo at doon niyo na nilagay. Paano yung mga Pilipino na ganun?”

Duterte also threatened to relieve the entire personnel of hospitals that will be found to be responsible of such acts.

“Lahat ng magkasakit… heart attack, appendicitis, pumutok 'yung utak, especially government hospitals, my order is must accept admission. You fail on that, I will relieve all of you sa hospital. And you can consider yourself suspended, because the written order will follow,” Duterte said.

According to Republic Act No. 8344 Section 1, it is unlawful for any employee of a hospital to refuse to administer medical treatment in emergency or serious cases.

The law also states that hospitals are only allowed to refer patients to other medical facilities if they have inadequate medical capabilities to treat the ill.

Additionally, Republic Act No. 10932 or the Anti-Hospital Deposit Law backs the earlier law and imposed a higher penalty for medical practitioners or facilities who refuses to administer appropriate initial medical treatment in emergency or serious cases.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health (DOH) and East Avenue Medical Center have denied allegations that there is an order to halt the counting of COVID-19 fatalities.

“We have not issued any policy or instruction for non-reporting of deaths,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told ABS-CBN News.

In a tweet, DOH chief Francisco Duque III said their department "did not and will never issue a directive for hospitals to conceal the number of COVID-19 deaths."

Meanwhile, who do not implement social distancing measures in their respective cities during the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) may face arrest.

In the televised meeting with members of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) on Monday night, Duterte made this warning amid reports over overcrowding in markets.

“Kayong mga mayors, huwag kayong maglaro kasi ang ayaw ninyo mag-social distancing mapipilitan ako puntahan kita at arestuhin kita (You mayors, don’t play because if you don’t want to implement social distancing, I’ll be forced to face you and arrest you),” he said.

Duterte observed that there seems to be “a lack of uniformity” in enforcing the social distancing rule.

If social distancing measures were not strictly observed, he said the rate of infection would not slow down and the second wave of infection could happen.

“Alam mo ‘pag hindi natin ito susunod, walang mangyari. Wala talagang mangyari. Kami dito salita nang salita hanggang makuha rin namin ang (Covid-19), baka una kaming mamatay (You know if we don’t comply nothing will happen. We’ll just talk and talk until we also get (Covid-19), we might even be the first to die),” he said.

Duterte also urged the public to wear “durable” face masks. The use of face masks when leaving their homes is now mandatory for residents in areas placed under ECQ.

He acknowledged that city governments had their own ordinances to observe, but also stressed the need to implement the measures adopted by the Department of Health (DOH) during the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.

Meanwhile, Duterte also enjoined barangay officials to keep a record of Covid-19 related deaths as part of efforts to keep their constituents safe.

“It behooves upon the barangay captain to see to it that kung sino ‘yung namatay siguraduhin lang pagsabi, heart attack (who died and make sure they disclose the reason, heart attack),” he said.

He said Covid-19-related deaths should also observe funeral guidelines.

“At kung malaman ko na namatay sa Corona (Covid-19), kunin ko ‘yung patay at sa gusto ninyo at hindi, magagalit kayo sa akin, wala na rin akong magawa, trabaho ko ‘yan, dalhin ko ‘yan doon sa crematory, sunugin ko. ‘Yan ang trabaho ko (And if they find out that a person died due to Corona, I’ll get the remains and whether you like it or not, I’ll bring it to the crematory),” he said.

The President also urged confirmed Covid-19 cases, patients under investigation, and persons under monitoring to stay isolated in hospitals of their homes to prevent further spread of infection.

“Maganda pa naman sana ang record ng Pilipinas because naka-lockdown tayo on time (The Philippines could have had a good record because we were able to declare a lockdown on time),” he said. With PNA