If we needed any more reminder of the challenges our medical frontliners go through these days, we need not look farther than what happened today at the East Avenue Medical Center in Quezon City.
At around 5 A.M., a man took hostage of a female doctor at the Emergency Room of the hospital. A video of the incident that has been making the rounds of Facebook and Viber groups shows the man moving slowly across a hallway, with the doctor in front of him. One of the hostage taker’s arms was wrapped around the left side of the doctor’s neck while he pointed a syringe towards her.
Thankfully, the incident was over in around 20 minutes without anyone getting hurt, thanks to the members of the Quezon City Police Department’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit (QCPD-CIDU), who happened to be on the scene investigating another matter. It was also fortunate that the doctor herself remained as calm as possible, and was even seen repeatedly patting the man on the arm reassuringly in the video.
According to QCPD-CIDU chief PMajor Elmer Monsalve, the man was arrested after the situation was pacified. “Ngayon nandito na siya sa Criminal Investigation Unit ng QCPD itong suspect para sampahan natin ng complaints sa piskalya ng grave coercion, grave threat, at saka alarm and scandal,” Monsalve told Julius Babao in an interview for TeleRadyo. Before the man was turned over to the investigators, he was treated by East Avenue doctors.
The man went into the hospital’s ER to seek treatment after figuring in a vehicular accident. However, his X-rays showed he had pneumonia which automatically makes him a COVID suspect as per medical protocol. As to what exactly triggered the hostage-taking, and how things developed are still unclear and unconfirmed, although the investigators and hospital personnel noted the patient seemed “depressed.”
“Wala pa po malinaw na dahilan. Hindi na namin makausap ng maayos yung pasyente. Pero mukha pong depressed siya,” said East Avenue Medical Center emergency room chief Dr. Willie Saludares in the same TeleRadyo interview. “For what reason hindi na po namin alam. Bigla na lang po niya hinablot ang aming doktor. Yun nga ang nangyari.”
Saludares assured that the victim, though shaken, is fine. “Ang aming doktor naman ay nasa maayos na kalagayan. Medyo nagulat lang talaga siya kanina. Mukhang nakaka-cope naman siya,” the ER chief told Babao, adding that they have sent the hospital’s psychologist to assess their colleague.