A mother of six children nearly died when a hospital in Davao City where she was confined refused to conduct an emergency operation on her for intestinal problems as her family has insufficient amount of money to pay the required down payment and advanced deposit for the operation. Since it is an emergency, the family members took pains to look for the required costly amount so the operation will be undertaken on their mother who was groaning in pain due to her bloated intestines. They raised a certain amount but not enough to reach the required amount. Desperate, family members appealed to the hospital management if they would allow a guarantor system in which they would ask a person to act as guarantor before the hospital. The hospital agreed on conditions that the guarantor should have links with the hospital. The family fussed over to look for that kind of person. Time is running out as the family pleads for help to find a guarantor. Thanks God and for supportive family friends, they finally found the most important person-the guarantor, which paved the way for the operation.
Just imagine the dilemma the family and the patient went through to meet the rudest policy of the hospital. For that hospital, it’s obvious they don’t give a damn whether a precious human life is lost for as long as it could generate huge profits. It’s not the only hospital of such a callous and unjust policy; there are a lot out there. This crooked policy of private hospitals hopefully will be curbed after President Duterte signed a law amending the Batasan Pambansa 702 to prohibit demand of deposits or advance payments for the confinement or treatment of patients in hospitals and medical cases. Under Republic Act (RA) 10932 signed by Duterte on August 3, stiffer penalties will be imposed to any hospitals and medical clinics that will refuse to administer appropriate initial medical treatment and support in emergency serious cases. The law provides penalties of imprisonment of up to a maximum of two years, from P100,000 up to P1 million for violators. Worse, if the violation is repeated three times, the hospital’s license to operate will be revoked by the Department of Health.
The implementing rules and guidelines are still being worked on to give teeth to such law. Once approved, the law will be enforced, which would undoubtedly annoy private hospital owners. In fact, at this early reports are rife a group of hospitals is planning to get a TRO (temporary restraining order) before the Supreme Court (SC) to block the implementation of the law. The nerve, the greed. These arrogant hospital owners who are mainly operating to their advantage will surely do all means possible to quell the law tailored-fit against them. Doctors and other related medical professions took their oath to serve the weak and the sick, save life regardless of status in society at any given time and circumstance. For the concerned hospitals or health facilities, physicians opted out from their oath over profit. On what would be their grounds for a TRO, is now the call of the SC.