Double whammy

May 29, 2020

Define irony.

It is the undeserved and wrongful accusation of malpractice against  heroic medical and healthcare professionals at the forefront of the still raging battle against the 2019 coronavirus disease pandemic.

Indeed, what could more tragic than professional lifesavers putting their own lives in peril and still facing the dire prospects of facing lawsuits?

It is bad enough that they are not well-compensated in the country for their very risky line of work, especially during this period .

If this is the fate that awaits them for performing their already very perilous profession, our corps of medical and health professionals would surely dwindle as they would be forced to switch jobs or professions or, worse, go to greener pastures abroad.    

 And so we fully agree with and strongly support Sen. Imee Marcos’ call for clearer legal protection for health care workers who may be falsely accused of malpractice, even as they risk their very lives to fight Covid-19.

Such legal and personal risks would increase, Marcos said, as lockdown restrictions to control the spread of the pandemic are expected to ease further at the end of May.

"Come June, we will be entering new territory in the progress of this pandemic. The unanimous virus disease pandemic still,raging battle against the 2019 coronavirus disease pandemic,” she said.

"The Department of Health also continues to be vague about what thresholds should guide us to protect our medical frontliners and the gains we have made since March," she added.

Marcos filed Senate Bill 1416 to amend Republic Act 11332, or the law requiring a citizen to report a notifiable disease - one which public health authorities must be informed of.

The bill seeks to expand the definition of a disease, categorically mentioning respiratory illnesses as Covid-19, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, and their usual complication, pneumonia.

Any person who deliberately conceals being infected with a notifiable disease or refuses to cooperate with authorities while showing its symptoms would be punished.

"The amendments to the existing law will minimize exposing our health care workers to false claims of misdiagnosis and putting their lives and those of their close associates and families at risk," Marcos said.

The country on Thursday recorded 539 new Covid-19 cases, bringing its total number of confirmed cases to 15,588.

The Department of Health), in its case bulletin, also reported 92 new recoveries and 17 new deaths.

The total number of recovered cases nationwide is now 3,598 while the death toll has climbed to 921. The total number of active cases nationwide is 11,069.

Of the 539 new cases, which is the highest single-day increase recorded to date, about 330 or 61 percent came from the National Capital Region; 55 or 10 percent came from Region 7 (Central Visayas); 99 or 19 percent from other regions; and the remaining 55 or 10 percent from repatriates.