Cover-up feared in Cebu rectal YouTube scandal


Posted at Sep 23 2008 10:41 PM | Updated as of Sep 24 2008 06:55 PM

Akbayan Representative Risa Hontiveros said Tuesday that a cover-up may have taken place regarding the rectal operation scandal in Cebu last January.

She made the allegation after learning that the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) was unable to identify the person who took and uploaded the embarrassing video on YouTube.

In a House human rights committee hearing, Dr. Gerard Aquino, hospital chief of VSMMC only said that a nurse trainee named “Donna” uploaded the video.

VSMMC legal officer Dr. Roque Paradela has admitted that there was a flaw in their hospital’s protocol, which led to “excessive laughter" of the medical personnel who witnessed the operation.

A drunken male patient had asked doctors to remove a canister forcbily inserted in his rectum by a male commercial sex worker. 

To prevent a repetition of the incident, Paradela said they have changed the hospital’s standard operating procedures (SOP).

For example, employees of VSMMC are now required to get a written consent from the patient before they are allowed to take videos during medical procedures.

Meanwhile, the rectal scandal victim, nicknamed “Janjan”, has complained that only an abstract of his medical condition was given to him by VSMMC instead of his medical records.

The hospital said that they initially refused to give Janjan’s medical records because the requesting party may misinterpret the data, especially if he’s planning to use it for litigation.

VSMMC stressed, however, that it is ready to present his medical record should it be requested in court proceedings.

According to UP forensic pathologist Dr. Raquel Fortun, who was a resource person in the committee hearing, there is no national policy regarding a patient’s access to his or her own medical records. She said that it is usually determined by the hospital’s SOP or by the attending physician.

She said this is one of the things that can be passed into law by the Congress.

Janjan said that he is content with the 90-day preventive suspension imposed on the doctors who supervised his operation.

But according to Rep. Hontiveros, such punishment is only a “slap in the wrist,” emphasizing the need for a more severe penalty.

“Ethical standards should be upheld and professionalism be exercised by doctors,” she said. -- report from WILLARD CHENG, ABS-CBN News