Health workers from the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center (JRRMMC) staged a noon “snake rally” Monday (August 3) to denounce the death of fellow medical frontliner Judy Bonn Suerte who succumbed to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on July 31.
The JRRMMC Employees Union-Alliance of Health Workers (EU-AHW) said in a statement said they are “worried and anxious” about their worsening condition in their hospital, noting that the number of COVID-19 infections among health workers in the hospital is increasing.
Suerte is among 20 JRRMMC health workers infected with COVID-19.
“He is one among the many health workers who are actively calling for their protection against the virus, free mandatory and regular swab testing to all health workers,” the statement read.
Among Suerte’s calls were free mandatory mass testing to all health workers and free distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE).
“We believe that Bonn’s life would have been saved if it had been immediately treated by Jose Reyes Memorial Hospital where he died. It is painful to think but it is clear to us that this is a major negligence of the hospital and the Department of Health (DOH) itself due to their anti-health workers protocols,” said Cristy Donguines, president of JRRMMCEU-AHW.
According to the group, Suerte was transferred to a COVID-19 referral hospital based on the DOH protocol that employees with severe COVID-19 cases should be transferred to an exclusive COVID-19 hospital.
“One of our problems is that: no free re-swabbing test after our quarantine. It should be one of the protocols to be implemented by the hospital to ensure that we are really fit to work,” Donguines added.
Donguines said that in order for health workers to return to work, they will have to pay for their re-swabbing test outside their hospital that costs around 4,300 to 5,500.
“We call on our fellow health workers to unite to bring justice to Judy Bonn Suerte and other health workers who are sacrificing their lives to face the invisible enemy. We hold the DOH and Duterte government accountable for their negligence and failure in handling this pandemic; because more than ever #HealthWorkersLivesMatter,” the group ended.
Based on the data from DOH, there are 4,823 infected health workers and 38 already died.
Manila Bulletin tried to get side of the health department on the concerns of the JRRMMC employees but the agency has yet to reply as of posting.