CHH backs two doctors sued over mayor’s death

Le Phyllis F. Antojado (The Freeman) - May 11, 2021 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  The management of Chong Hua Hospital has declared its full support for the two doctors indicted by the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office for reckless imprudence resulting to homicide over the death of Barili mayor Marlon Garcia.

In a statement, Chong Hua Hospital said the indictment against Dr. Elfleda Hernandez and Dr. Yvonne Bettina Montejo was expected.

“The Cebu City Prosecutor’s recent finding in the case of the late Mayor Marlon Garcia is not unexpected in these extraordinary times. The indictment is not a finding of guilty but only a confirmation of the opportunity given by the legal process for the attending physicians to prove the quality care they have given to their patient,” the hospital said.

It added that despite the filing of the formal charges in court, its doctors “still have faith in our justice system” and will continue to explore legal remedies to prove their innocence.

“We continue to respect the Garcia Family’s request for answers and maintain our compassion for the deceased public servant and the bereaved family members without diminishing our support, concern and care for our doctors,” CHH said.

Earlier, the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office has found probable cause to hold Hernandez and Montejo for trial for reckless imprudence resulting to homicide. The case stemmed from the criminal complaint filed by the family of the late mayor, including Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia.

The family questioned the standard of care the two doctors employed on the late mayor that allegedly causing his health condition to deteriorate and led to his eventual death. The family presented an expert opinion from Dr. Ravi Durvasula, a licensed physician and professor of Medicine and Infectious Disease and chairman of the Department of Medicine of Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine in Chicago, USA.

According to Durvasula, the attending physicians’ lack of observance of standard care and procedure, employment of highly questionable and unnecessary laboratory tests and treatments, and exaggerated or unsupported laboratory results had caused the patient’s death.

Both Hernandez and Montejo denied Durvasula’s opinion and questioned his personality to practice his profession in the country. However, assistant city prosecutor Verna Merelos deemed it proper to leave the issue ventilated in court during a full-blown trial.

“…the opinion of Dr. Durvasula on the existence of questionable standards of care is sufficient to establish the element of breach of duty. Because of that breach of duty, it resulted in the death of Mr. Garcia. Hence, there is probable cause to engender a well-founded belief that respondents are probably guilty and should be held for trial,” an excerpt of the resolution read.

Marlon was admitted at CHH last year after getting COVID-19. He was declared to have recovered from the virus but his doctors allegedly refused to discharge him until he developed another infection and died on September 6, 2020 because of septic shock secondary to catheter related blood stream infection, ventilator associated pneumonia. – FPL (FREEMAN)

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