MANILA - The National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) on Monday appealed to the government for assistance as it reached its full capacity to accept COVID-19 patients.
The state-run hospital's COVID-19 facility has 100 percent occupancy as dialysis patients from other centers flocked to its already congested emergency room, said executive director Dr. NKTI Rose Marie Rosete-Liquete.
"The emergency room remains congested. The hot zone is full. This is a call for your help to solve the situation," she said in an open letter.
"Many government facilities have donated to different facilities, one way or another. And while NKTI has practically knocked on all doors but still, our letters, our pleas, have not been fully answered."
The hospital urged all of its emergency patients to transfer to their hospital of choice and referred COVID-19 patients to the Lung Center of the Philippines or Jose Rodriguez Memorial Medical Center.
"Our COVID-19 tents, for some time, have decongested the emergency rooms but now that the rainy season is here, they have to be dismantled," Rosete-Liquete said.
"Not one of the officials came when our tents bloomed to the maximum and scorched under the sun, and later, stormed by Typhoon Ambo."
The hospital raised concerns for dialysis patients who cannot receive treatment as they were turned away by other centers for being COVID-19 positive or their dialysis facility was closed due to depleted funds.
"Most, if not all, of these dialysis centers have not received reimbursements from PhilHealth for a very long time," Rosete-Liquete said.
"While we catered and had provided mass testing to overseas Filipino workers and locally stranded individuals, we failed to give attentions to those 'medically vulnerable’ and are in need of immediate assistance of government."
The NKTI also expressed concern for its staff, of whom 174 has tested positive for the coronavirus. Most of them are nurses, nephrologists, internists, and medical technologists, Rosete-Liquete said.
"Our healthcare workers deserve quarantine breaks, a livable accommodation, transportation, and more realistic allowances commensurate to their unconditional service. It should not be given like an incentive because they actually deserve more than that; their service to humanity is immeasurable," she said.
"The COVID-19 pandemic will probably remain for next 1 or 2 years. And we, the NKTI, your specialty transplant center, cannot be a breeding ground of the virus," she added, noting that the hospital's census for transplant has "precipitously dropped."
Last week, St. Luke's Medical Center also declared full capacity in handling virus cases and said Monday its emergency rooms' critical care beds were also full despite having expanded it to twice its capacity.
The Philippines as of Sunday reported 67,456 cases of the novel coronavirus, with 22,465 recoveries and 1,831 deaths.