Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go assured he will initiate investigation against hospitals that allegedly refused to administer emergency care to critically ill patients amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) emergency in the country.
“Papaimbestigahan ko ito bilang chairperson ng Committee on Health sa Senado. Ipatatawag natin ang mga ospital na ito sa tamang panahon (I will investigate this as chairperson of the committee on health in the Senate. We will summon hospitals at the right time) and those responsible for these unlawful acts should and will be held accountable,” Go said.
Go also said the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Health (DOH) are ready to conduct investigations on the hospitals that allegedly refused to provide treatment to patients.
Go reiterated his appeal to hospitals not to refuse to administer emergency care to critically ill patients.
“Nasa sitwasyon tayo na hirap na hirap talaga lahat lalo na ang ating health facilities… Kulang ang PPE gears at mga kagamitan sa mga ospital at lampas kapasidad ang karamihan kaya hirap na tumanggap ng dagdag na pasyente (We are in in a really difficult situation especially our health facilities. There is not enough personal protective equipment in the hospitals and don’t have enough capacity, that’s why it’s difficult to accept patients),” Go said.
Go, however, said it should not be the reason to reject patients, particularly emergency cases.
“Kailangan nating gawin ang tama at lahat ng ating makakaya para mailigtas ang buhay ng kapwa nating Pilipino na nangangailangan ng tulong medical (We need to do our best to save the lives of our countrymen who need medical attention),” said Go, chair of the Senate committee on health and demography.
Go renewed his appeal after Mary Jane Alpide, a pregnant woman, died during labor at Rizal Medical Center after being reportedly turned down earlier by four medical facilities, allegedly including Dr. Fabella Memorial Hospital.
“Inuulit ko po, hindi maaaring tanggihan ng mga ospital ang sinumang pasyenteng lalapit sa kanila. Labag po ito sa batas (I repeat, hospitals should not reject any patient. That’s against the law),” Go said.
In its official statement, Dr. Fabella Memorial Hospital said it has “designated a separate and exclusive building to care and manage obstetrics, gynecologic and pediatric patients suspected or confirmed to have Covid-19 infections.”
However, the hospital also mentioned that “the time to expand and complete the facility may have taken awhile considering the renovation and procurement of needed equipment.”
Go earlier gave stern warning amid reports that a patient died after reportedly being rejected by as many as six hospitals in Cabanatuan City in Nueva Ecija, while another patient was also allegedly turned down by nine hospitals in Caloocan City without receiving any emergency treatment.
“Ilan pang pasyente ang mamamatay para matuto ang mga ospital na maging tapat sa kanilang tungkulin at sumunod sa utos ng Pangulo at sa batas? Hindi na dapat ito maulit muli. Dapat turuan ng leksyon ang mga ganitong ospital at managot ang mga kailangang managot (How many more patients have to die before hospitals will learn to follow the President and the law? This should not happen again. These hospitals should be held accountable),” Go said.
He cited Republic Act 10932 or the “Anti-Hospital Deposit Law” which declares it unlawful for a hospital or medical clinic to refuse to administer medical treatment and support to any patient.
Go said patients can be transferred to other health facilities if the hospitals have not enough capacity but “such transfer shall be done only after necessary emergency treatment and support have been administered to stabilize the patient.”
Citing the law, Go said violators will face four to six years imprisonment and a fine ranging from PHP500,000 to PHP1 million.