Critically-ill child denied hospital entry, dies

Butuan City, Philippines—A distraught mother took to social media to express her grief over the death of her 10-year-old daughter, who was denied admission in a Butuan City hospital because she could not pay the admission deposit.

Tutz Salarda-Chan posted on Facebook how she pleaded to the admitting personnel of Butuan Doctors Hospital to have her critically-ill child admitted, but to no avail.

Jannary Chan or “Yanna,” 10, (shown above) passed away on July 16 at around 3 a.m. from congestive heart failure.

Emergency situation

Chan said Yanna had congenital heart disease since she was six months old. She was also diagnosed early this year with diabetes and a kidney problem.

She said they brought Yanna to the San Francisco Doctors Hospital in San Francisco, Agusan del Sur, on July 13 because she was ill. On July 15, however, Chan said they decided to transfer the girl to the better-equipped Butuan Doctors Hospital in Butuan City, Agusan del Norte, due to ‘‘her emergency situation and critical condition.’’

Onboard an ambulance, Chan said they travelled more than an hour to reach Butuan City, the regional center of the Caraga region in Mindanao.

Two nurses from the San Francisco Doctors Hospital accompanied Yanna and her parents, bringing with them complete medical certificate and referral.

No full deposit, no entry

But upon arrival at the Butuan Doctors Hospital, Chan said the hospital staff refused to admit her child because they could not pay the full deposit of P30,000 for the intensive care unit (ICU).

She said they only had between P8,000 and P10,000 in cash but promised to pay the balance the following morning.

“We have money but we can’t pay now,” Chan recalled telling the hospital personnel, saying it was already 8 p.m. and could not get their cash from a money transfer service.

“Also my daughter has intubation and needs to be brought to ICU. She’s been in the ambulance for hours, we travelled long distance, please it’s really an emergency,” she remembered pleading to the staff. But she said her pleas fell on deaf ears.

“The money you have is far from the P30,000 needed for admission. There’s no charity here. This is a private hospital,” she quoted the staff as saying. “What is your job by the way? Where would you get the money to pay the bills?” the staff purportedly asked the distraught mother.

The staff even argued that Yanna’s condition was “not an emergency” case. “You call it an emergency case when someone was ran over by a vehicle.”

Resigned, Chan said they decided to bring their child to Davao City, about 305 kilometers from Butuan City, on board the same ambulance.

But Yanna didn’t make it to the hospital, succumbing to cardiac arrest while on the way to a Davao hospital, Chan said.

The Law says otherwise

According to Republic Act 8344, hospitals are prohibited to demand deposits or advance payments before administration of medical treatment in emergency cases. Section 1 of the law states: “It shall be unlawful for any proprietor, president, director, manager or any other officer, and/or medical practitioner or employee of a hospital or medical clinic to request, solicit, demand or accept any deposit or any other form of advance payment as a prerequisite for confinement or medical treatment of a patient in such hospital or medical clinic or to refuse to administer medical treatment and support as dictated by good practice of medicine to prevent death or permanent disability.” — By Nestor Corrales (INQ.net)