Doctors’ group rebukes Pimentel for violating quarantine protocols
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Medical Association (PMA) on Thursday rebuked Senator Koko Pimentel for entering the Makati Medical Center (MMC) and violating his home quarantine on Tuesday night after getting confirmation on his positive diagnosis for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
In a statement, the PMA, the umbrella organization of medical practitioners in the country, also called on government officials to refrain from being tested as VIPs, considering the limited availability of testing kits in the country.
“The Philippine Medical Association is one with the doctors and nurses of the Makati Medical Center whose health, if not their lives, were placed at risk when Senator koko Pimentel ignored the COVID-19 protocol of the hospital,” PMA said.
While saying it understood Pimentel’s concern for his pregnant wife, PMA pointed out that “knowing him as a person of stature, he should have placed above all the well-being of the health workers who are already working so hard to help curb the problem of the COVID-19 menace.”
The association noted that it is common knowledge that the number of the country’s heath workers is already dwindling as some were already subjected to quarantine, and that we could not afford further depletion of the crucial workforce.
“The PMA thus calls upon our government officials to please refrain from being treated as VIPs and better, please follow protocols as we are all in this fight together,” it added.
Pimentel disclosed his positive diagnosis for COVID-19 on Wednesday after it was relayed to him Tuesday night. He said he was already at the MMC to bring his pregnant wife who was due for a cesarean delivery when he learned of the test result. He said he immediately left the facility after learning the diagnosis.
MMC has issued a strongly-worded statement against the senator, calling his actions “irresponsible and reckless” as he breached the strict infection and containment protocols of the hospitals’s delivery room complex.
As a result of Pimentel’s actions, MMC had to disinfect and decontaminate its delivery room complex and had to evaluate the health condition of its workers who were present in the area at the time of his visit for possible quarantine.
Pimentel apologized and appealed for understanding, even while defending his actions.
“I’m sorry that it happened pero (but) it’s a hospital scenario,” he said.
Asked about possible legal actions against him, he said: “Let’s be reasonable. Tandaan natin na wala akong information na positive ako (Let’s remember that I don’t have information that I am positive of the disease)… I am the expectant father, samahan ko (I just accompanied an) expectant mother. Wala naman akong ubo (I did not have a cough),” he said.
Several senators went on quarantine and took tests for COVID-19 after a resource person at a Senate hearing on March 5 tested positive for the disease.
Pimentel is the second senator confirmed to have acquired the illness, next to Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri.
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