Duterte orders probe on 9 hospitals that 'refused patients' amid pandemic

Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 16 2020 11:45 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte is ordering the investigation of nine hospitals that allegedly refused admission to patients amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Nine hospitals refused to accept patients. And therefore, we are calling, not after the COVID crisis but I’ll be asking the DOH (Department of Health) to start the investigation. I’m sorry but there are rules to be followed,” Duterte said in his speech Thursday night.

The President earlier warned that officials of government-run hospitals that refuse patients during the crisis shall face prosecution and the relief of their entire personnel.

“Ospital kayo, you are the sanctuary of the sick. You do not choose the ailment of the patient you are accepting. It is simply not within your power. Kaya maghanap kayo ng paraan on how to deal with the problem,” he said.

The President told hospitals to prepare rooms to especially accommodate COVID-19 patients.

“Ngayon sa ospital, wala kayong kwarto na segregated for COVID patients because doon sa ibang hospital niyo gustong dalhin, mahirap yan. Kapag ganun, maghanap kayo ng kwarto dyan sa labas, ilagay nyo yung pasyente doon. Bahala na kayo. It’s up to you. Maybe hatiin mo ang isang ward, tapos sarahan nyo and then institute the measures to protect the people including the health workers,” he said.

He also made an appeal to crematoriums not to raise their prices and take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Ito namang may-ari ng crematorium, may I ask you to maintain yung presyo ng cremation before, ante quarantine. Ibig sabihin yung presyo na wala pa tayong problema yun ang ibigay ninyo. Nakikiusap ako, tutal negosyo yan e kumikita kayo ng pera sinusunog ang katawan,” Duterte said.

“Ngayon kung taasan ninyo yung presyo, iiwan ko yung patay dyan sa inyo,” the President warned. 

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra earlier ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to look into the death of a senior citizen who died after allegedly being refused admission by 6 hospitals.

“The DOJ has already directed the NBI to investigate the incident,” Guevarra said.

Ladislao Cabling, a 65-year-old farmer, died in his home in Nueva Ecija after 6 hospitals in Cabanatuan City allegedly turned him away due to lack of intensive care unit (ICU) rooms.

Last March, the DOH said all hospitals are obligated to accept patients with symptoms of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) amid the rising number of cases.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told reporters that all hospitals have a performance commitment and that they could face sanctions if they violate their obligation to patients.