Sheer irresponsibility

Almost two years into this COVID-19 pandemic, and there are still people who will attempt to endanger others for their benefit.

It was incredulous to hear what happened in one of our private hospitals here in Bacolod over the weekend due to an expectant mother who intentionally withheld proper information that led to chaos.

According to my source, the mother who was from Talisay City was scheduled to give birth and as part of the protocol, was asked to have an RT-PCR test before admission. She initially went to Red Cross and her test came back positive. She then went to another testing lab where another RT-PCR came out with negative results. This was what she presented to the hospital upon admission and she was admitted to the ward along with negative moms.

As part of protocol though, Red Cross informed Talisay City about their suspected positive resident and it took the LGU allegedly two days to track her down at the hospital. By the time the hospital staff knew of her case, she was already in labor, beside other moms that tested negative.

We all know that RT-PCR tests are not 100-percent accurate but in the event of two conflicting results, medical protocol dictates you acknowledge the positive result.

It was too late to even mull about transferring her to other hospitals as she has compromised everything, from admission to the ward, to the labor room. If that wasn’t enough, there were more complications.

Although she was admitted for natural childbirth, she had difficulties that warranted cesarean section, which meant, she needed to use the operating room as well that was earlier scheduled for three other cesarean procedures.

In the end, the hospital decided to transfer the three mothers who needed C-section to other hospitals as the maternal wing has already been compromised.

It made my blood boil that one irresponsible act led to possible contamination of patients, medical staff and other personnel that she was exposed to. She was just thinking of herself and did not take into account the thought that she could infect other expectant mothers and their babies who will now have to extend their stay at the hospital or be transferred to a quarantine facility as part of the protocol.

Who will pay for their additional stay? Normally, it takes an overnight stay or so when one has a natural childbirth procedure. Who will pay for the staff’s compensation since they cannot, and should not be placed on duty until they are tested five days after exposure?

Imagine the havoc that ensued at a time when hospitals clearly lack the manpower to fully utilize their facility.

This is similar to the case in the Cadiz Emergency Birthing Clinic when it had to close down last September 28 after their staff was exposed to a COVID-positive pregnant woman. The night before, the patient arrived bearing a negative antigen test and did not reveal that she already had a positive RT-PCR result from the provincial hospital in Silay.

Two years into the pandemic and there are still many loopholes in our system. It is unfortunate that it took Talisay two days to know this woman’s whereabouts. It is sad that our molecular labs are not inter-connected, or at least data from these labs should be consolidated, in order to avoid this kind of incident.

What kind of penalty should be meted on the patient? I was told that she will be fined P50,000 but I don’t think that is enough to cover the damage she caused.

I know it is not right for hospitals to obligate their patients to get tested in their preferred molecular lab, but to avoid a repeat of this case, I think hospitals have all the right to demand that only results from their preferred lab will be considered as the official results.

There are some hospitals that have their own labs and while it may not be fair for patients as there are labs that offer tests at a much lower price than what Red Cross charges, it is not worth the risk if patients are shopping for labs to get their desired results.

More so now when cases continue to rise in our midst and hospitals are shutting their doors due to full occupancy rate. In a recent report, we had a spike of COVID-deaths in Bacolod last month. It was three times higher than that of the August data.

CLMMRH head, Dr. Julius Drilon in an interview with Rappler said that their emergency room looked like a gathering of patients, eleven of them, who needed to be intubated last October 2. The day before that, Bacolod recorded 231 new cases while Negros Occidental had 393 new cases.

“Eleven critical cases in a city with only 33 Covid-ICU beds is a third of all ICU cases. These do not include those already being treated at CLMMRH, where recovery of patients proceeds at a very slow pace,” Rappler reported.

A source who works as a nurse in one of the private hospitals here admitted that they are overworked after many of their colleagues resigned and transferred to government hospitals that are also hiring.

“It is not anymore an issue of tenure but whether you get fairly compensated with the risk you are facing,” he said.

And the risk doubles when people willfully trick their way into an imperfect system.*

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