Medical group tells gov't officials to 'get acts together' amid COVID-19 surge

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 04 2021 10:36 AM

MANILA— A medical group on Saturday expressed dismay with the government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic as virus patients continued to fill hospitals in different parts of the country, with some reportedly dying outside emergency rooms as they waited admission. 

Philippine College of Physicians president Dr. Maricar Limpin said the situation in some hospitals in Laguna and Cebu have come to the point where health workers had to choose who among their patients would get respirators. 

"Ito 'yung problema namin na nakakadugo ng puso kasi ayaw namin na kami 'yung gumagawa ng mga desisyon na ito, we do not like to play gods. Definitely ayaw namin na ganoon," Limpin said in an interview on Teleradyo. 

(That's the problem that breaks our hearts, we do not want to make these decisions, we do not want to play gods)

"Nangyayari na rin sa ibang parte ng bansa natin like 'yung Calabarzon, 'yung mga kasamahan nating doctor [nagsasabing] talagang punong-puno sila, naghihintay ang mga pasyente para lang makapasok sa emergency room," she added. 

(This is already happening in other parts of our country, such as in Calabarzon. Our fellow doctors there said they are already filled with virus patients to the point that they are already waiting outside emergency rooms.)

Limpin said the situation is a wake up call for the government amid the country's fight with the more contagious COVID-19 Delta variant, the community transmission of which has already been confirmed by the World Health Organization (WHO). 

If the government will continue to handle the situation poorly, the country's health care system could reach the breaking point, just like what happened in India at the height of the Delta surge in April, she warned.

"Kaya nga sinasabi namin paulit-ulit at 'di kami magsasawa, they have to get their acts together, they have to get their acts now," she said.

(We keep on saying this to the government and we will not be tired in saying this: they have to get their acts together, they have to get their acts now.)

"Kung di nila gagawan ito ng paraan at kung 'di nila gagawin ang recommendation namin noong isang taon pa, hindi natin mako-contain ang pandemic na ito, the whole health care system will really collapse."

(If they won't do something about this, and if they won't heed our recommendation from last year, we would not be able to contain the pandemic)

"Yung nakita natin sa India, that is going to happen here in our country, ayaw namin na nag-uumpisa na natin makita ito ngayon but ayaw pa natin lumala pa 'yan," she added, referring to the catastrophic spread of the Delta variant in India earlier this year. 

(What we saw in India is going to happen in our country, we don't want to see that here. It could get worse.)

She also alleged that the country's intensive care unit (ICU) utilization rate and ward beds occupancy rate posted on the Department of Health's (DOH) latest bulletin is "different" from what is happening on the ground. 

According to the DOH, 72 percent of ICU beds nationwide are currently being used, while 71 percent of ward beds are so far occupied.

"Hindi tumutugma 'yung datos nila doon sa nakikita natin... then you look at other hospitals na maliliit, maaaring hindi rin sila masyadong napupuno pero 'yung major hospitals na mayroon tayo, lahat alam natin mapa-pribado o gobyerno, puno po sila."

(Their data is very different from what is happening on the ground, then you look at other small hospitals, while they could cope, some big hospitals are already announcing full capacity)

The Philippines, which has among the worst coronavirus outbreaks in Asia, has tallied over 2.040 million total COVID-19 infections as of Friday.

Active cases, meanwhile, have reached nearly 159,000, data from the DOH showed.