EDITORIAL – Not so fast on the Tuburan incident
(The Freeman) - November 29, 2015 - 9:00am

The Cebu Provincial Health Office has reportedly asked the doctor who administered expired insulin on a diabetes patient at the Tuburan District Hospital to resign after the patient, a public school teacher, died. Perhaps the better thing to ask of the doctor is just to go on leave as no formal investigation has been made into the incident.

The only available facts at the moment are the death of the patient and the admission of the doctor that the medicine was found later to be expired. In the absence of a full-blown investigation, if any is even forthcoming, it cannot be said with absolute certainty that the expired insulin was what caused the death of the patient.

What is available at the moment is mere conjecture, of putting two and two together, such that the fatality being a diabetes patient and the medicine given was expired insulin, ergo that was the cause of death and the doctor is liable. That should not be the case. The matter is very delicate and sensitive and must be handled with utmost care, great prudence and a high degree of professionalism.

Not that the doctor should be absolved of any responsibility for what happened. On the contrary, he has every responsibility to shed light on the matter and to take responsibility if the facts require. But until then, the best way to obtain justice, not just for the victim and the victim's family, but for everyone concerned, is to conduct promptly the required investigation.

On the other hand, the investigation might even be broadened to encompass all other issues that concern the delivery of basic medical and health services in the province, especially in light of several other recent incidents involving government hospitals that tend to suggest government health initiatives have reached a new low.

Indeed, it seems rather strange for the Cebu Provincial Health Office to promptly suggest the resignation of the doctor involved in the Tuburan incident when there has been no full blown investigation conducted yet. Is there an attempt here to swiftly pin the blame on one individual so that what spark may have been ignited by the incident will not explode into a major conflagration?

The question is asked because, okay, the doctor may have admitted having administered an expired drug. But everything does not necessarily have to end there. It might also be asked where the drug came from or who provided it. The way to handle these things is not to swiftly sweep things under the rug but to open windows in order to shed light on things that need to be illuminated.

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