SENATOR Miriam Defensor-Santiago has sought an inquiry into the report of the Commission on Audit (CoA) that a number of Quezon Medical Center’s patients died without receiving the blood transfusions they needed because they failed to pay laboratory fees immediately.
She filed Resolution 1210 directing the proper Senate committee to conduct a probe into the matter as she stressed that “establishments such as hospitals, whose business deals with public interest, have a duty to put welfare before profit.”
“Congress, through relevant legislation, must put in place mechanisms that ensure patients are provided immediate medical care while ensuring that hospitals are also protected against loss of income,” said Santiago.
In its 2013 report, CoA said that patients at the Quezon Provincial Hospital who needed to undergo blood transfusion were required to pay the blood screening fee before they received the required medical treatment.
The audit report showed that the Quezon Medical Center would not perform blood screening on confined patients unless they first paid anywhere between P1,500 and P4,500.
CoA reported that because blood screening is necessary before a transfusion is made, delays in the procedure allegedly exposed patients to unnecessary risks. CoA had cited several documents showing that there were patients who died because they could not use the purchased bags of blood.
“State auditors claimed that the hospital’s no-fees-no-tests policy violates Republic Act No. 8344, which penalizes hospitals and medical clinics that do not administer appropriate initial medical treatments in emergency or serious cases,” said Santiago.
“The state auditors also questioned the hospital over drugs and medicines worth P12.45 million, and medical, dental, and laboratory supplies worth P8.79 million, supposedly purchased between June and December 2012 but which remain unaccounted for, she added.