HOSPITALS are among the most important establishment a community should have for this can save people’s lives, help in curing the sick, and maintain the health of the community.
Southern Philippine Medical Center (SPMC) is a government hospital under the Department of Health of the Republic of the Philippines
It is also designated by the Department of Health as the medical center for Mindanao and Sulu by Administrative Order 157 making it one of the most significant hospitals in the region.
But instead of high quality-low expense cure, it is seen more like a battlefield for patients who need medical assistance.
On top of the list of the hospital’s downfall is its emergency room.
A single room for about 800 patients a day with only the column of beds to separate one kind of patient to the other is the hospital’s way in accommodating its incoming patients.
Patient 1 shared her experience on the hospital, “We waited for 3 hours, our patients was already so pale and she’s about to lose her consciousness and yet nobody even attended to our needs.”
According to the interviewees this kind of situation is very rampant in the hospital some are even asked to just sit in the corner.
“Because they don’t’ have any available bed yet they asked our patient to sit in a corner,” added patient 1.
The bed at the ER have poles around them, but no curtains to provide patients some privacy and a little protection; a situation which is very dangerous especially for the children since people who have communicable diseases can be just a few meters away from them.
Patient 2 also shared her sentiments regarding the issue “It was so bad, my friend’s blood already dried up and yet no one was there to clean his wounds.”
Another problem is the hospital’s CUI or commonly known as ICU. Normally, an ICU caters to very patients at a time and very limited people are allowed in because it handles patients who need intensive care.
SPMC’s emergency room’s ICU on the other hand would sometimes cater up to 10 patients and this is left wide open to the public and to the patients inside the emergency room. When asked if this is okay Dr. Antonio Solar the assistant director of the emergency room of SPMC admitted that it is very far from the ideal ICU room.
He didn’t deny the allegations admitting further that there are indeed times when patients are asked to stay outside the ER simply because there is no space for them inside.
Regarding the issue of the emergency room’s beds “Yes” he said “we have very limited beds on the emergency room.” The reason for this is that, first, the current emergency room is “temporary” since the construction of a much better and high quality emergency room is still ongoing, and second, the hospital doesn’t have enough budget to buy new beds nor space to put those additional beds.
With regards the slow emergency response, all he cause say is that the going ratio now at the ER is one doctor to 100 patients. Thus, it is true that there are times when patients have to wait for hours before being attended to.
According to Dr. Solar they follow the first-come-first served basis; those in line may have to wait long depending on the needs of those who came before.
There are times when patients are not attached to IV drips simply because they can’t afford them. They too have to wait for laboratory results on the patients to know what the patient needs.
A former nurse said they can hardly give each patient much attention because of the sheer number.
“We only have three nurses on duty everyday” Dr. Solar said.
When asked what is the biggest problem of the emergency room Dr. Solar said that it is mainly the budget and the number of staff.
“We are only dependent on the national budget since the local budget does not include us,” Dr. Solar stated.
In our country where more than a million of registered nurses are underemployed because they couldn’t find a hospital to apply it is very hard to believe that such a problem such as “under staffing” exists in a public hospital such as SPMC.
In 2014 the government had allotted 84.4 billion for the Department of Health alone.
Where does this 84.4 billion go?
The construction of the new emergency room is great news for the people who couldn’t afford medical attention in private hospitals but the question is until the completion of the emergency room how many more people will suffer and experience this kind of “treatment”?
In a developing country like the Philippines you can’t help but understand the kind of situation it is in. Everything about the country is on a “still developing” mode from education to health, a fact every Filipino has to live with, a fact every Filipino is getting sick of. (Stephanie Lim)