‘Investigate and hold hospitals accountable for refusing to treat patients,’ Sen. Go urges DOH

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go today repeated his demand for answers on the alleged refusal of hospitals to admit patients amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.  He urged the Department of Health (DOH) to act on the cases and release the results of its investigations on earlier complaints.

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go (OFFICE OF SEN. BONG GO / MANILA BULLETIN)

“Has the DOH already investigated these cases? What is the status of the investigation? What are the steps taken to hold hospitals accountable for refusing to provide first aid to patients? ”Go asked. 

"As the chairman of the Senate health and demography committee, I have already called for action on the reported expulsions of hospitals to our countrymen in need of medical assistance," he added.

Highlighted recently was the case of Richmond Rondanilla, a former government worker who had all the symptoms of the COVID-19 and was in his worst condition, yet was reportedly refused by four hospitals in Metro Manila. 

Rondanilla’s family expressed their anger and sadness over the incident as they sought answers from authorities about who should be held accountable for the death of their loved one. 

“How many more lives will be lost to put an end to such incidents? Please listen to the grievances and complaints of ordinary Filipinos, ”Go lamented. 

"Let us not pity the poor and oppress the poor," Go further appealed. 

The DOH was earlier quoted as saying that almost 50 percent of COVID-19 fatalities died without being admitted and treated in hospitals.

Republic Act (RA) 10932 states that a patient is allowed for transfer only after necessary emergency treatment and support have been administered to a patient.

The previous cases before Rondanilla also had similar circumstances — they were refused emergency treatments by hospitals for various reasons.

“Our laws are clear and must be strictly enforced to protect the lives and welfare of our people. These alleged incidents are in clear violation of Republic Act 10932 which allows the transfer of a patient only after necessary emergency treatment and support have been administered to stabilize the patient,” Go explained.

In previous reports, a woman in Caloocan City died during childbirth after being turned away by six hospitals citing full capacity.  Another facility allegedly asked for a deposit payment before admission. These facilities allegedly cited that they lacked available space for in-patients and were short on blood supply.

At least three Filipino patients also died after reportedly being refused treatment by various hospitals. A pregnant woman in Manila died after being turned down by four hospitals while another patient expired after reportedly being turned away by as many as six hospitals in Cabanatuan City in Nueva Ecija.

Also in Caloocan, a female patient was also allegedly turned away by nine hospitals without receiving any emergency treatment. Similar complaints were also reported of parents of two infants who died in separate incidents after officials of a hospital in Manila City allegedly refused to admit them.

Go is also urging hospitals to provide the right kind of medical service that Filipinos deserve.

“In hospitals, provide the service that should be provided. Let's work together. We look up to you for your sacrifice and service in saving the lives of the sick, ” he said, highlighting the huge role of medical frontliners and the country's admiration for their service and dedication amid the crisis.

The senator from Davao is also requesting the National Task Force on COVID-19 as well as the Department of Justice (DOJ) and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), “to put an end to this and hold hospital administrators who are found guilty of not fulfilling their medical responsibility accountable.”