QUEZON CITY – Over two months after Cainta public healthcare worker Maria Theresa Cruz died from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), her daughter Joie is now turning grief into a call for justice and accountability.
On Thursday, Joie Cruz, along with her lawyer, filed an administrative complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman against Cainta Municipal Hospital chief Dr. Antonio Jayson Sierra for his alleged negligence that led to the death of her mother.
“Ginagawa ko po ito dahil ni-raise kami ng nanay po namin na may paninindigan, ni-raise niya kami na kapag tama ang ipinaglalaban namin, kailangan namin manindidgan,” Cruz said.
(I am doing this because my mother raised us with conviction. She taught us to fight for what is right. We need to assert it.)
“We will be served justice kapag nabigyan ng Office of the Ombudsman si Dr. Sierra ng karampatang charges or punishment po doon sa pagpapabaya na nagawa niya, at isa nga doon ay suspension,” she added.
(Justice will be served if the Office of the Ombudsman would charge or punish Dr. Sierra with suspension for what he did.)
Cruz's legal counsel, lawyer Ansheline Bacudio said the family wanted to hold accountable the hospital's management, and to make sure that the hospital is doing its best to protect medical frontliners.
"[Ito'y] to ensure na ginagawa nila ‘yung duty nila sa pagpo-provide ng healthcare system. At the same time, gusto naming ma-prioritize ‘yung pagte-testing ng mga frontliners natin at pag-provide ng quality personal protective equipment (PPE),” Bacudio said.
(This is to ensure that they are doing their duty in the healthcare system. We also want to prioritize the testing of frontliners and for them to be provided quality PPE.)
Cruz's mother, who was 47, died on July 22 after suffering from severe pneumonia.
She said her mother was only given a rapid test after getting exposed to a COVID-19 positive patient. She was tested negative on the rapid test.
The procedure, however, went against the mandated RT-PCR test for health workers who have relevant contact with a COVID-19-positive patient, as stated in the guidelines of the Department of Health.
The nurse only had her swab test three days before she died. The family got the test result three days after her death which turned out positive.
“We feel that we have a duty to continue this fight and to make sure that the story of our mom will not be repeated," she said.
Cruz disclosed her mother was posthumously given a measly sum of P7,265 or approximately P60 daily as hazard pay.
She said there was also a lack of personal protective equipment at the hospital.
Her camp also urged the Municipal Government of Cainta to investigate the matter.
The Cainta Municipal Hospital has yet to comment on the complaint as of this posting.
--- Report from Michael Joe Delizo, ABS-CBN News