Duterte warns charges against hospitals turning away critically ill patients

Duterte warns charges against hospitals turning away critically ill patients
The National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) sets up a tent to serve as the receiving area for medical workers to screen possible COVID-19 patients in Quezon City on April 2, 2020.
The STAR / Miguel de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte warned hospitals turning away critically ill patients of facing charges as the Philippines grapples with the public health emergency situation due to COVID-19 outbreak.

In a public address late Monday night, Duterte mentioned a case of a patient in Cabanatuan City who was refused admission by six hospitals.

READ: FULL TEXT: Duterte's April 13 talk to the people on COVID-19 pandemic

“You know guys, you know that is wrong. If that is true, I will really ask the Justice department to prosecute you because you know that is not allowed, especially the government hospital,” Duterte said in a mix of English and Fiilipino.

He ordered hospitals, especially government-owned, to “accept admission.”

Public hospitals were directed to make convert and to sanitize houses near their facility for additional rooms for those who are not COVID-19 infected but also need medical assistance such cases of heart attack or appendicitis.

“You fail on that, I will relieve all of you in the hospital and you can consider yourself suspended because the written order will follow,” Duterte added.

A GMA News report interviewing the daughter of the deceased shared that her father died at home after they were refused admission by six hospitals. Ladislao Cabling told Dobol B sa News TV that hospitals said there were no vacant rooms in their intensive care unit for her father.

Metro Manila hospitals reported operating at overcapacity and refused COVID-19 patients.

The Health department has since retrofitted government facilities, including sea vessels and the Philippine Arena, to serve as isolation areas as hospitals grapple with the rise of coronavirus infections in the country.

DOH also said it will hire 857 more healthcare workers to augment manpower.

There are currently 4,832 COVID-19 cases in the country. Of the figure, 315 have died while 242 have so far recovered. — Kristine Joy Patag

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