The management of Eastern Bicol Medical Center has denied as untrue the allegation of a San Andres resident that one of the hospital’s nurses turned off the oxygen supply of his sick child, causing her to die, and that medical staff prevented the man’s kin from securing important medical papers.
“It’s definitely not true. Dai man basta basta yahari ang oxygen without any consent,” said the hospital nurse who, together with other hospital staff, asked not to be named because of a threat made by relatives of the patient.
The grave accusation was aired by Jodel Suplig of barangay Asgad in an interview at a local radio station last Nov. 29, 2017 that followed a broadcaster’s post on facebook six days earlier of a video showing Suplig expressing his frustrations over the service rendered by the hospital to his daughter Jocel.
The man claimed that while her daughter was in good condition, one of the nurses turned off the oxygen supply, allegedly causing her to die.
Medical records and interviews with the EBMC medical staff disclosed that on Nov. 16 at 9:30 A.M., Suplig, together with his wife, brought Jocel to the provincial hospital upon referral from the Juan M. Alberto Memorial District Hospital in San Andres because of cyanosis.
“Upon admission, ang reklamo talaga ng tatay ay nangingitim ang bata,” said the nurse who received the patient.
“Based on the laboratory findings, ang working diagnosis niya at that time was polycythemia. Ito yung malapot yung dugo. Madami yung volume ng blood kaya nagiging malapot,” explained the attending doctor.
The doctor added that the manifestation of polycythemia includes cyanosis, which the baby exhibited at the time of admission.
“Right after nung maadmit namin siya, pinrangka ko yung father na since hindi kami gumagawa ng phlebotomy, inadvice ko siya na irefer sa tertiary hospital, since wala kaming capability as of this moment gumawa ng phlebotomy,” she said.
Two days after admission, at around 5 P.M. of Nov. 18, a Saturday, a nurse was attending to her patient in the same room as Jocel, when the nurse overheard Jodel saying in a loud voice, “Ngata ta pagkakinusog-kusog ning oxygen ning aki ko, ano lalamuson su aki ko?”
In the same statement, the nurse added that Suplig yelled, “Manapuyong na ako ninto!”.
When the nurse asked Suplig what his problem was, he answered that the oxygen was high at that time. The nurse, however, explained that the oxygen was based on the need of the child as ordered by the doctor.
Several minutes later, when the same nurse went back into the room just after the oxygen of Suplig’s daughter was replaced, the father was agitated again.
“Kakapalit palang ning oxygen na uni, dai na naman ning laog?” said Suplig.
The nurse explained that because a newly-placed oxygen was being used, its medical gas supply should not be subjected to very high system pressure.
Unknown to the nurse who went out, the father adjusted the supply of the oxygen to his child. This was confirmed by Mylene Dio, who was in the same room as the Supligs, who witnessed how Suplig shouted and then tampered with the oxygen after the nurse went out.
Another nurse narrated that that in the evening of Sunday, Nov. 19, Suplig called the nurse and asked for a suction. The nurse was expecting there was no major problem. However, when they arrived, they were surprised that the father did not mention that the baby was already very pale at the time.
The nurses added that they tried their best to give immediate medical attention to the child and called in a doctor, who ordered for intubation.
Another nurse affirmed that at about 4 A.M. on Monday morning, Nov. 20, when the baby was already pinkish, the father ordered the removal of the Endotracheal (ET) tube, saying that his baby did not need it anymore because she had recovered.
The nurse explained to him that the baby was still under observation and, thus, the ET tube must not be removed. But Suplid let go of the Ambu bag, a portable device used to help patients breathe, while saying, “Yan ho, ipagadan ko na su aki ko.”
At 7 AM of the same day, the father also burst out, accusing the nurse that she is killing the baby and threatened the nurse afterwards, “Dai nyo ako midbid? Suplig ang apelyido ko. Dati akong NPA. Bistado ako ta pabalik-balik na ako sa kulungan.”
Frightened by Suplig’s statement, the nurse had the incident recorded in the police blotter at the Virac municipal police station.
Unfortunately, the child died in the early morning of Tuesday, Nov. 21.
During the same radio interview, Jodel Suplig also accused the provincial hospital of preventing the release of the child’s medical papers, specifically the death certificate of her daughter.
“Bako man na basta-basta ang pagrelease nin death certificate. Dakol nin dapat asikasuhon, papirmahon. Pero dai man ya-hold ang death certificate,” the hospital staff explained.
Suplig also claimed that a doctor begged his wife not to further air their complaints through the media.
According to Dr. Joy Barceta, she did not talk to Suplig’s wife on the matter as it was Suplig’s mother who approached her and asked for medical assistance which the hospital immediately gave.
“Lumapit sa akin yung asawa niya, ta gahagad ning tuwang. Tinuwangan ta man, kaya grabe ang kugos ning ina ni Suplig”, said Dr. Barceta.
The family did not pay any of the hospitalization expenses of Jocel Suplig.
As of press time, no formal complaint regarding the controversy has been filed at the hospital. The EBMC management assured the public that they are not disregarding any complaint about its services as long as the matter is handled pursuant to existing hospital policy and protocol.