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Bad and good hospitals

I’M getting complaints against private hospitals allegedly abusing patients especially those suspected of having COVID-19.

I understand private hospitals are fully occupied at the moment owing to the surge in COVID-19 cases. Tension usually runs high in this kind of situation when business mixes with matters of life and death.

One tale is about an incident involving a big private hospital in Quezon City where a suspected COVID-19 patient was taken there due to very high fever.

Since fever is a symptom of COVID-19, what the hospital did first was to put the patient in line for swab testing.

Unfortunately, swab testing results take time and the cue for the testing was long considering the volume of patients that came in that particular day.

And since all the rooms were taken, the hospital advised the patient’s family to avail of an accommodation where they can do the long ‘wait’.

The family took the offer for obvious reasons.

But the condition of the patient got worse. Without any certainty about getting the swab test and its results sooner and having the medication started for the patient, the family told the hospital they are moving to another medical institution.

To the dismay of the family, their plan was rejected by the hospital which insisted for them to stay. The hospital only released the patient when family members got emotional and made a scene.

But before they can go, the family was made to settle the bill amounting for P50,000.

I was told the patient hasn’t even stayed in the hospital for 24 hours, yet they were charged for that ridiculous amount just for waiting in a facility.

When they got to Chinese General Hospital which was also already full, they were told to take the swab test and wait for the results in the car—a very sensible and practical advice.

When the results arrived, it was learned the patient was COVID-19 negative but positive for dengue. She was taken in later and was found to have critically low platelets.

The patient survived.

Meanwhile, I guess it’s still business as usual in the first hospital she was taken to. Maybe not if regulators will do something about the case.


A policymaker in Quezon City yesterday called on the Department of Health (DOH) to support a well-performing hospital in Novaliches amid the continuing onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

District 5 councilor Karl Castelo noted that while the Novaliches District Hospital (NCD) is doing an exemplary job in delivering government health services to the people, it needs more resources to expand manpower and bed capacity to achieve its full potential.

The DOH is the government’s enabler and capacity builder in the heath sector. If it’s going to pursue this mandate, one of its priorities should be the Novaliches District Hospital because of its remarkable performance as a health provider in the locality,” Castelo said.

Castelo said the NDH has been receiving praises from its constituents owing to its competent and accommodating medical staff and personnel. “However, the medical institution needs more people it can work with and facilities so it can fully discharge its functions,” he added.

NDH is owned and controlled by the Quezon City government mandated by virtue of City Ordinance no. SP-997 S-2001, and SP-1002 s. 2001 to render basic and emergency healthcare services to the residents of the greater Novaliches area and 5th District of Quezon City that extends to its neighboring communities and catchment areas.

It is a Level 1 hospital with only 30 authorized bed capacity and is an ISO 9001:2015 certified organization aimed to maintain safe and quality health care for the community.

The hospital is funded by Quezon City but it is always ready to welcome any kind of support from the national government so it can further its mission to city residents especially the poor,” Castelo added.


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