PGH doctor: Roque's swift hospitalization ‘disappointing’ amid bed shortage

Bella Perez-Rubio - Philstar.com
PGH doctor: Roque's swift hospitalization âdisappointingâ amid bed shortage
Photo shows Harry Roque holding his regular press briefing from his room at the Philippine General Hospital on April 12, 2021. Roque said he was admitted to the PGH on April 10 after testing positive for COVID-19 the day before.
Office of the Presidential Spokesperson Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 8:31 p.m.) — A Philippine General Hospital doctor on Thursday said he was dismayed by presidential spokesman Harry Roque's swift admission to the hospital for COVID-19 ahead of the large number of patients who have been waiting in line. 

"Let me just say that it's very disappointing, to say the least, because, even among doctors, maybe we would be prioritized because we are the hospital's staff, we might be prioritized but even our own families...have to fall in line," Dr. Gene Nisperos said partially in Filipino during an interview with ANC's "Matters of Fact." 

"The sad part really is, well looking back now, it doesn't look like he was in really dire need of hospitalization at the time when he entered the hospital."  

Roque confirmed that he was hospitalized on Saturday. He said that his "oxygen level [falling] to 90%" merited his admission to the hospital. The spokesman has, however, been well enough to continue holding his regular press briefings. 

When he was asked about his swift admission to the hospital on Monday, Roque slammed reporters for asking what he called an "un-Christian question." He also falsely claimed that "anyone who needs medical attention will be given assistance" under the Duterte administration. 

READ: 'Full capacity everywhere': Manila hospitals struggle as virus surges

But Nisperos said "somebody else would have benefitted" from the COVID-19 bed occupied by Roque. "[I]f you are not in dire need and you have tens of people, hundreds of people, waiting in line, what is the most Christian thing to do? Let them go first." 

"Selfishness is very un-Christian," he also said. 

Nisperos further emphasized the importance of strictly implementing protocols when it comes to admitting patients amid the bed shortage suffered by hospitals in Metro Manila. "Because we know that, any one of us, if we skip the line, then everybody skips the line," he said, warning that others might also try to use their connections to get ahead. 

"[I]f you put an exception once, then you have to exempt everyone."

Roque: I waited four days for a room

Roque denied using a room at the PGH reserved for President Rodrigo Duterte and claimed that he waited for four days before being admitted.

Former health secretary and now Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin recently said that Roque may have used a PGH room reserved for the Philippine leader. 

Garin said it was possible that President Duterte has waived his right to that room but clarified that she was not privy to what actually happened.

"No, I was in an ordinary room," Roque said when asked to react to Garin's statement.

"It took four days before I could actually enter. When I started showing symptoms, I was given a signal by my doctors here in PGH and it was only when my oxygen level went down to 90% that I was asked to come in," he added.

Roque said he will be discharged after being confined in the state-run hospital for six days. — with The STAR/Alexis Romero





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