Garcias demand answers
Le Phyllis F. Antojado (The Freeman) - September 18, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  Just a week after Barili Mayor Marlon and former Dumanjug mayor Nelson Garcia were laid to rest, their siblings, Governor Gwendolyn Garcia and Third District Rep. Pablo John Garcia, yesterday demanded answers to some questions about their brothers’ deaths.

Marlon and Nelson had been declared COVID-recovered. But Nelson died of cardio pulmonary arrest secondary to probable pulmonary embolism while Marlon died due to septic shock secondary to catheter related blood stream infection, ventilator associated pneumonia.

The Garcias asked what exactly happened to their brothers, who fought for their lives while in the hospital.

“We are raising questions. We are not making conclusions...We are asking because our family did not prohibit any expense. We did everything necessary,” PJ told reporters yesterday. In the same press conference, the congressman also revealed having contracted the virus but survived.

“Yes, they both tested positive for COVID-19 as did I around the same period. But they had recovered from COVID-19. Their doctors themselves, in the death certificates, would show that they recovered,” he said.

Gwen said she tried to give her brothers a set of medication but the doctors did not allow them to take them. The medication, which she did not specify, was the one being given by the Provincial Health Office to Cebu constituents with COVID-19 symptoms.

Gwen said his brother Marlon wanted to leave the hospital and even willing to sign a waiver just for him to go home.

“Niingon si Marlon, I have been here for more than 17 days, I am okay na gyud. Please tell your mom (Gov. Gwen) to tell the doctor I will sign a waiver. I just want to go home. I am more worried about the bills piling up,” Gwen related what Marlon told her daughter, Liloan Mayor Christina Garcia-Frasco.

Marlon’s hospital ballooned to P5.2 million while Nelson's to P3.2 million, excluding doctor's fee, during their one-month admission at the hospital, which the Garcias did not name during the press conference.

Gwen and her family decided to meet with the doctors to discuss their situation but the doctors allegedly refused to meet them and so they opted to have a phone call.

“Siya na mismo ang niingon nga okay wala na ang virus, amo na na sila ibalhin gikan sa COVID ICU ngadto sa kadtong ilang special ICU nga naay usa ka nurse nga magbantay,” Gwen said.

ICU Stay

Winston Garcia, another sibling who was present during the phone conversation, told the doctor that ICU is the "most infectious environment."  This was based from his experience when he underwent an operation in a private hospital when his doctor did not want him to stay a minute longer in the ICU as "bacteria in the ICU are multi-drug resistant" already.

The same was also relayed by their aunt who is an anesthesiologist based in USA.

Mayor Marlon and Nelson stayed at the ICU and started having a fever.

“Obviously, the secondary bacterial infection has set in and I was really, really scared because even if they were admitted on different days, they showed similar patterns. They then underwent dialysis and I was already frantic because I was seeing the same pattern,” Gwen narrated.

PJ, who got infected with COVID-19, did not admit himself in the hospital but isolated himself. He took a set of medications given by his sister. He recovered from the virus later.

“Those words kept coming back, haunting me because that’s exactly what happened to my brothers. They died not from COVID or pneumonia but because of the bacteria that they got from the hospital,” PJ said.

‘Mao ra diay dangatan’

Both Gwen and PJ became emotional as they narrated what happened to their brothers.

“Sukad sa pagsugod sa among ordeal, the moment I learned nga naa si Marlon sa hospital, August 5, I had not had one peaceful moment, nagsige kulba akong dughan, di ko katulog og tarong. I was even scared for myself mo-lower akong immune system kay di ko katulog, di ko kakaon. It's not easy. Unya karon mao ra diay dangatan after one month nga nitoo mi'g maayo sa mga medical experts, mao ra diay dangatan,” Gwen said, shedding tears.

When asked if they will take legal action against the hospital, PJ said: “It is too early in the day to talk about that. We have just buried our siblings.”

He said they will seek medical experts to "weigh in" what "could have done differently".

"Would have been more prudent not to put them in highly infectious environment," Pablo John furthered.

Nonetheless, the Garcias are hoping that a lesson could be learned from what happened to their brothers.

“So we only want to ask why. Their deaths were senseless but if their deaths were to have meaning so maybe we ask these questions and that we can learn from this. We ask these questions and we may save others from dying,” PJ said. — JMD (FREEMAN)

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