DOH to hospitals: No turning down of patients despite coronavirus crisis
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday reminded hospitals to continue to provide essential health care services and don’t turn away patients even as the country is grappling with a public health emergency due to COVID-19 outbreak.
The health department issued the call after reports reached its office that some hospitals are refusing admission to patients because of alleged “overcrowding” due to COVID-19 patients.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire reminded hospitals that the DOH had issued an order mandating them and other health care facilities to continue providing essential services despite the health crisis.
“Hindi po pwede na dahil puro COVID-19 po ang sinasabi ng ating mga ospital ay nakalimutan na po natin ang ibang sakit na maaaring nararanasan ng ating mga kababayan,” Vergeire said in a virtual press briefing.
The health official cited the following as among the essential services hospitals should continue to provide, citing Department Circular 2020-0167 issued March 23:
(1) Antenatal and postpartum care services including Basic Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care
(2) Essential Intrapartum and Newborn Care, especially the promotion of exclusive breastfeeding
(3) Immunization for children 0-12 months
(4) Management of malnutrition and micronutrient supplementation
(5) Screening, testing, and treatment of tuberculosis and HIV
(6) Mental health services
Vergeire said local government units (LGUs) should ensure that provision of essential health services in their areas remain open during COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier, President Rodrigo Duterte warned hospitals turning away critically ill patients of facing charges after reports received by his office revealed that a patient died in Cabanatuan City after being refused admission by six hospitals.
“You know that’s wrong. So if that’ true, I will really ask the justice department to prosecute you. You know that’s not allowed,” Duterte said in his late Monday night public address.
“Everyone who is sick — heart attack, appendicitis, a brain that ruptured– especially government hospital, my order is must accept admission. You fail on that, I will relieve all of you in the hospital and you consider yourselves suspended because the written order will follow,” he added.
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