Hospitals need to show sensitivity

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

EIGHTY-EIGHT trees vanished from a busy street with nary a trace. To borrow a line from “The King and I,” ‘tis a puzzlement.

Serging Osmeña Blvd. is owned by the national government; the trees in the center island are not. They belong to the people.

Maybe that is why the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) could not care less if the trees are uprooted before their very eyes.


Look, the road is undergoing repairs by the DPWH, through its contractor, WT Construction which, I presume, has men in the vicinity 24/7 to, among others, watch
over the heavy equipment that they have deployed there.

Neither DPWH nor WT Construction noticed the trees being uprooted, according to news reports. I suspect that even if they did, they did not bother to find out who were taking the trees out and upon whose orders.

That behavior would be totally unacceptable and, if that were the case, I challenge
the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to file administrative charges against the responsible DPWH official for nonfeasance, if not incompetence.


Our piece yesterday on the ordeal that Lee Kintanar and her family suffered while at the Chong Hua Hospital where she was rushed for acute abdominal pain prompted a call from colleague Alfonso Alerre, who said that Ma’am Lee’s case is not isolated because he, too, went through the same nightmare but in another hospital.

Al said his ill daughter was brought to the Perpetual Succor Hospital (PSH) and, upon arrival, was immediately taken to the emergency room. This was around 10 p.m . It wasn’t only until 6 a.m. of the following day, however, that Al’s daughter, whose condition had in the meantime deteriorated, was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit.

Al’s complaint is similar to that of Karla Kintanar-Fernandez in the case of Ma’am Lee: nobody explained to him what was happening to his daughter such as why she was confined at the ER that long and why she wasn’t brought to the ICU sooner.

The daughter remains confined at the PSH until now and Al has set aside everything so he can stay near her, if not by her bedside. Al said that in order to be close to her, he has to pay the hospital an additional P200 for overnight parking. Aren’t establishments required to provide free parking areas for their clients/customers, he asks?

Al also complained about hospital’s alleged policy of not administering medicine to the patient when her credit limit is exceeded. It is all right being required to make an additional deposit, the lawyer said, but to withhold medicine from the patient until then is simply unchristian.

This is specially so, he added, because you cannot be immediately entertained at the cashier’s office because of the long line of relatives making payments on behalf of
their patients.

I am not aware of this supposed practice and I would welcome a clarification from the PSH. I commit to publishing their reply in this space in fairness to all concerned.

But in the meantime, I believe that hospitals, not just Chong Hua and PSH, should deal with the family and friends of patients with more sensitivity. I’m sure they realize how anxious these people are at the time they accompany a sick loved one to the hospital.

The sight of a patient writhing in pain may be common to the nurse or doctor or any hospital worker but that does not excuse them from showing a little more empathy to the sick one and those accompanying him or her.

It doesn’t take a doctorate in psychology to know that a person under stress needs to be comforted. You can’t achieve that by keeping in the dark the patient and the people with him or her.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 04, 2014.


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