Mom of Dengvaxia victim reveals offer of funds
SAN ISIDRO, NUEVA ECIJA — The mother of a suspected Dengvaxia victim from Barangay Sto. Cristo here said a local health worker had tried to get her son’s medical documents in exchange for an unspecified amount of “financial assistance.”
Janet Elipane on Tuesday said the offer was made days after the body of her son, Melvin Karl, 12, was exhumed and autopsied with the help of the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) from a public cemetery here in February 2018.
PAO chief Persida Acosta earlier accused Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and some health workers of allegedly bribing families of dead children who got shots of the Dengvaxia dengue vaccine in exchange for not pursuing any lawsuit.
PAO had submitted to Malacañang documents to prove its accusations against Duque.
Elipane was among those who supported PAO’s allegations against Duque and the department’s health personnel, saying she was invited to the town’s rural health unit (RHU) where she was asked by a health worker to open a bank account for the assistance.
She, however, did not name the health worker.
Melvin Karl, who, Elipane said, had never been seriously sick until he received the Dengvaxia vaccine, died on Dec. 5, 2017.
“The health worker didn’t use the term ‘payment.’ It’s more like an assistance but they need something in return. But of course, that’s the same,” Elipane told the Inquirer.
She said she was initially willing to give photocopies of her son’s medical records but the RHU worker asked for the original copies, including that of the vaccination card.
For Elipane, it was a case of an attempt to bribe her to get evidence against people who may be indicted in connection with the Dengvaxia controversy.
What more proof?
“The RHU worker made a follow-up a few days after that incident but I again refused to give in to the demand,” Elipane said.
Duque had already denied the allegations on several occasions, describing the PAO’s claims as “malicious, baseless and a complete lie.”
He said the allegations had “seriously damaged” the reputation of the Department of Health (DOH).
On the DOH’s comment that Dengvaxia had nothing to do with the deaths being linked to the vaccine as documented by the PAO, Elipane said: “My God, what other proof do they need?”
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