All about appearances

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Saturday, May 24, 2014

RYAN Noval, the father of the newborn whose lips were allegedly taped inside the Cebu Puericulture Center and Maternity House last May 9, was emotional when he learned about the hospital's incident report to the Department of Health (DOH) 7.

It was no surprise that the hospital would deny that one of its staffers taped the baby’s lips, or that someone placed a pacifier near the baby. What shocked Noval was that the hospital would shift the blame on him.
The hospital’s director, Raida Varona, pointed out that Noval entered the hospital’s Special Intensive Care Unit, where the baby was staying, wearing nothing but street clothes and carrying a backpack.

The unit is supposed to be a sterile environment and only breastfeeding mothers are allowed inside (apart from the staff, I presume).


So his attire and the backpack somehow made the father responsible. Hmmm. I supposed if he was wearing khaki chino pants from Ralph Lauren, a navy blue collared shirt from Lacoste and brown loafers from Fred Perry and carrying a picnic basket that would have been okay?

It’s quite ludicrous, really. Even Atty. Dante Jadman, spokesman of the Regional Subcommittee for Welfare of Children tasked to look into the matter, thought so too.

“For us, it’s not a valid report. It’s merely a denial. They just shifted the accusation to the father just because he brought a backpack in the hospital,” Jadman was quoted in Justin K. Vestil’s report that came out in Sun.Star Cebu last May 22.

The insinuations incensed Noval. And rightly so. In the same report, he told reporters: “To the (hospital’s) lawyer: ‘Get your s**t together.’ We are coming, okay. This is not fun for us, it’s actually hell. It would be illogical for us to actually put tape on our baby and fabricate this story. With this notion from your side, it actually angers me. That’s the reaction you want, you will get the result.”

I guess the hospital didn’t expect Noval to be, well, articulate and to be so quotable. “I feel raped as a parent” was what he said in an earlier interview. A tad dramatic, perhaps, but definitely fodder for the insatiable hunger of an outraged public.

And now, there might be a Senate investigation on the incident after it caught the attention of Sen. Nancy Binay. And there hasn’t even been a formal complaint yet.

Last Friday, the two nurses on duty when the alleged incident took place faced the media. Aside from denying the allegations, they also offered to take a lie-detector test. And no, they didn’t mention the father in his street clothes and backpack.

One of them, Arianne Mae Pacula, said Jasmine Badocdoc, the baby’s mother, approached her at the nurse’s station and told her about the tape and the pacifier. When the two of them checked, the baby’s lips were indeed taped and the pacifier was in the crib.

She admitted telling Badocdoc she would remove the tape but she was unable to with so much to do. When Pacula was about to endorse her records to the next shift at 11 a.m. the next day, she said the tape and the pacifier were gone.

Kamille Isabela Neri, the medication nurse that time, said Badocdoc never mentioned the tape on the baby’s lips. Nor did the latter report the matter to her or the midwife on duty while Badocdoc was in the nursery.
So you be the judge.

Lastly, I was somewhat disappointed with Varona that she didn’t bring up Noval’s dreadlocks. I mean, if you’re going to be a bigot might as well be a bigot all the way. Right?

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 25, 2014.


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