Experts on 'turning down' patients: We can’t accommodate everyone

Published January 28, 2022, 3:38 PM

by Charie Mae F. Abarca

Amid the influx of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patient admissions, health experts reiterated that health institutions cannot cater to all patients all at once.


During a webinar entitled “How do we prevent our Emergency Rooms from shutting down?,” medical experts from different health institutions answered inquiries on how to protect the country’s entire healthcare system amid the viral spread of COVID-19.

Among the questions that sparked a thorough discussion was the alleged act of turning down patients who need emergency care.

“We operate based on our structure, manpower, and capacity. At a certain point we reach the ceiling and we cannot really accommodate patients, that’s the time we limit our patients to life-threatening cases and I hope you understand that,” said the chairperson of The Medical City’s Department of Emergency Dr. Lourdes Jimenez on Friday, Jan. 28.

Jimenez likewise stressed the fact that admitting everyone would not be beneficial for the health care workers as well as the patients.

“If we continue to admit patients, we cannot take care of them also and of course, we have to preserve the remaining staff we have,” she added.

Meanwhile, National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 special adviser and chairman of the Philippine General Hospital’s (PGH) Department of Emergency Medicine Dr. Teodoro “Ted” Herbosa said that PGH’s strategy relied on the Transfer Command Center (TCC).

“TFC is something set up by the PGH to solve this problem, but the other thing is the One Hospital Command Center (OHCC).. interestingly, COVID-19 gave us something to solve this problem in admitting patients,” said Herbosa.

Dr. Richard Henry Santos, president of the Philippine College of Emergency Medicine backed Herbosa’s statement, clarifying that OHCC “tries to take away the burden” of the public in looking for an appropriate facility for patients to be admitted.