After workers' complaints, Fabella Hospital vows to improve handling of COVID-19 cases


Posted at Apr 17 2020 07:01 PM

MANILA — The management of government-run Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital on Friday acknowledged initial problems in their handling of COVID-19 patients, following complaints from its health workers.

The statement, signed by Medical Center Chief II Dr. Esmeraldo Ilem, explained that the hospital had designated a building for its patients who are “suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 infections.”

“The time to expand and complete the facility may have taken awhile considering the renovation and procurement of needed equipment,” Ilem wrote. “But just the same, we started admitting patients even with incomplete facility.”

The hospital official said tents were put up and renovations in the main building were made because of the “surge of patients” and the accommodation of “patients who will not tell the truth of their status.”

Ilem also admitted that the hospital initially had limited personal protective equipment that were “reserved to those directly handling patients.”

But the official said guidelines were now in place for the proper usage of PPEs, and are moving to maintain their supplies.

The statement came after CNN Philippines interviewed a health care worker who claimed that the national maternity hospital had not been able to separate probable COVID-19 patients from regular patients. The said health worker also claimed that staff who might have contracted COVID-19 were not isolated. A group of health workers reportedly informed the hospital management about the problem.

The hospital, however, said that it was transparent in the status of patients as it posted a daily census of patients at the isolation building.

“Results of personnel who became positive came out last April 12 and had been disclosed to respective units,” Ilem said, adding that contact tracing has already been implemented with possible exposures “advised and subjected for testing.”

Ilem said the concerned hospital personnel underwent counseling and were offered to isolate in the facility but “some preferred home quarantine.”

The hospital assured the public that it had adapted issuances of the Department of Health and other concerned agencies relating to COVID-19.

“The Fabella Covid Response Team was established to address policy, operation, logistics, administrative, finance and monitoring issues,” it said. “The Incident Command Post is continually active and working.”

Although it did not elaborate, the hospital said it hopes that the complaint letter sent by the health workers “is in no way being used to prevent some personnel to be assigned and be in direct combat against the unseen enemy.” 

It added that its departments in charge of health workers’ schedules “have taken into consideration every probable parameters including gender.”