Fate of mother turned away by hospitals decried

QUEZON City Rep. Alfred Vargas is reminding all hospitals in the country that under the law they should not be demanding deposits from patients especially emergency cases.

Vargas expressed disappointment over the case of a mother who died because some hospitals refused to accept her due to lack of money for advance payment.

 “My heart bled as I read the story of Katherine and Jan Bulatao, one of the many modern-day Joseph and Mary, after being turned away by several hospitals,” Vargas said.

Desperately seeking admission from one hospital to another in Caloocan, then in Quezon City, Katherine who had just given birth to a baby girl at home assisted by a “hilot”,  had to seek hospital treatment as her placenta remained inside her womb.

Based on the account of PEP Alerts, she finally died in a Bulacan hospital due to loss of blood, after six hours of travel from one hospital to another.

Vargas wants to see a quick investigation of the Bulatao tragedy as Republic Act 10932 entitled “An Act Prohibiting the Demand of Deposits or Advance Payments for the Confinement or Treatment of Patients in Hospitals and Medical Clinics in Certain Cases” imposes penalties on erring hospitals.

The solon, one of the vice chairmen of the House committee on health, likewise wants stronger referral systems within and amongst hospitals as part of our effort to improve healthcare for our people.

“It is disheartening to read about Katherine's death. She had just given birth, was hours away from death but wasn't attended to because of a P30,000 down-payment that a properly equipped hospital was demanding. We are in the midst of saving and protecting lives where health workers and patients die because of the virus and we allowed Katherine to die without a fight. Isn't that a crime? A child was deprived of a mother. That is a tragedy,” he added.

The solon recognizes that some hospitals are not properly equipped, and in the case of the other hospitals that Katherine and Jan went to, they did not have enough blood in their blood bank for the transfusion that Katherine needed.

Nonetheless,  the burden of finding a hospital to take care of the patient should not be on the family, but on the health system and in this case, the first responder – the hospital.

 “Anuman ang paliwanag, ng anim na ospital, walang doktor na tumingin kay Katherine. Agaw buhay siya pero di siya nakakuha ng atensyon medikal. Yan ang katotohanan!” he said.

Meanwhile, the solon appealed for immediate breast-milk donations for Baby Katherine Jean for her to survive.