Case of the two nurses

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Friday, May 30, 2014

I UNDERTAND why the two nurses who were on duty when the mouth of a baby at the nursery of the Cebu Puericulture Center and Maternity House was taped have vehemently denied their involvement in it. They are obviously under pressure by the hospital's management.

I even sympathize with their present predicament. They have no choice. I think they are caught between telling the truth and losing their job. They may have been pushed against the wall.

I am sure that the nurses, Arianne Mae Pacula and Kamille Isabela Neri are now bothered by their conscience. I even would like to think they are ready to tell the truth, that is, if they are freed from the predicament they are now in.


I believe that if somebody, or maybe another medical institution for that matter, would assure them of employment in case they are dismissed now, they will tell the truth. In fact, they already admitted half of their lapses although they still justified their actions.

Health officials said that under the guidelines laid down by the World Health Organization (WHO) and reiterated by the Department of Health (DOH), the use of pacifiers for babies is prohibited. Health officials are promoting breastfeeding, as studies say that there is no substitute for mother's milk.

The nurses admitted that, in the past, there were instances when they had babies under their care use pacifiers. They claimed that they did this upon the order of the pediatrician.

The management claimed that using pacifier is a no-no in the hospital. And yet the nurses admitted that they indeed had the babies use pacifiers.

But first things first. In what instance or under what circumstance can a doctor order the putting of a pacifier into a baby’s mouth? The nurses did not explain that during an investigation conducted by the inter-agency task force headed by a section of the Department of Health (DOH) 7. They also did not mention the names of the doctors who ordered them to do so.

Again, the nurses claimed they did the taping upon the instruction of a doctor. But isn’t it also possible that they did it on their own because they were disturbed by the babies’ crying? Kana bang nagbuot-buot na lang sila kay puwede man diay butangan og pacifier (tsupon) ang bata.

So who taped baby Yohannes's mouth? The hospital’s management insinuated that it was the baby's parents who did it. But what was their motive?

The hospital management, the nurses and their lawyer have consistently denied they taped the mouths of babies. Is it possible they did it because they are worried that the hospital’s application for accreditation as a child-mother friendly facility before DOH would be jeopardized? Perhaps, that is what they are protecting so they are now denying everything to death.

The Philippine Nurses Association (PNA) Cebu chapter, on the other hand, has promised to help the two nurses defend themselves in the event that the parents of one of the taped babies, Ryan Noval and Jasmine Badocdoc, would file charges against them in court.

Is the PNA condoning the nurses’ acts? If the two nurses really did the taping, I think the PNA should rather condemn instead of tending to encourage this. They deserve to be condemned if they lied.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 31, 2014.


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