By Mario Casayuran
Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go today warned hospitals that it is unlawful to refuse to administer emergency care to critically ill patients.
Go, chairman of the Senate health and demography committee, issued the stern warning following the death of a patient who was reportedly rejected by as many as six hospitals in Cabanatuan, while another patient was also turned away by nine hospitals in Caloocan City. Both did not receive any emergency treatment.
He echoed President Duterte’s remarks that hospitals are the sanctuary of the sick and that they should not choose the ailment of the patient they are accepting.
He also said that he supports the President’s stand to penalize hospitals that cannot attend to patients who need immediate medical attention.
Go stressed that “accepting patients into hospitals is of paramount importance,’’ especially given the COVID-19 emergency in the country.
He also cited Republic Act (RA) 10932, or the “Anti-Hospital Deposit Law,” which declares that it is unlawful for a hospital or medical clinic to refuse to administer medical treatment and support to any patient.
“Ayon sa batas, kung hindi sapat ang kapasidad ng ospital, maaaring i-transfer ang pasyente sa ospital na may kakayahang magbigay ng tamang lunas (The law says, if the hospital lacks the capacity, the patient can be transferred to another hospital which has the capacity to give the necessary medical attention),” Go stated.
The law provides that “such transfer shall be done only after necessary emergency treatment and support have been administered to stabilize the patient and after it has been established that such transfer entails less risks than the patient’s continued confinement.”
Go warned that violators of the law would be dealt with and penalized.
Under the law, any official, medical practitioner or employee of the hospital or medical clinic who violates the provisions of this Act shall be punished by imprisonment of not less than six (6) months and one (1) day but not more than two (2) years and four (4) months, or a fine of not less than P100,000.00 but not more than P300,000.00 or both.
Higher penalties of imprisonment of four (4) to six (6) years, or a fine of not less than P500,000.00 but not more than one million pesos, or both, are imposed upon directors or officers of hospitals or clinics responsible for the formulation and implementation of policies or instructions violative of this Act.
Three (3) repeated violations, added RA 10932, shall result in the revocation of the health facility’s license to operate by the DOH.
Go assured that he would have the two incidents investigated by authorities and bring offenders to justice.
He, likewise, enjoined all hospitals and medical institutions to do the right thing in order to save the lives of their patients.