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DOH probes Cebu hospital for putting tape on baby’s lip

/ 12:04 AM May 14, 2014

CEBU CITY, Philippines—The Department of Health (DOH) in Central Visayas is looking into the claim of parents that a nurse in a private hospital here had put a piece of adhesive tape on the upper lip of their newborn son because he was crying too loud.

Dr. Jaime Bernadas, DOH director in Central Visayas (DOH-7), said they formed a fact-finding team that would review the procedures at Cebu Puericulture Center and Maternity House.

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He added that the hospital was also told to submit a full report regarding the incident. “This is the first time this has happened in the city,” he added.

Bernadas said the DOH Regulations Division was also checking the sanctions to recommend if it is proven that the hospital violated standard procedures.

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Dr. Raida Varona, the hospital’s medical director, told reporters on Monday that they were conducting a “deeper investigation” on the incident.

She declined to identify the nurse or any hospital staff member involved pending completion of their investigation.

Varona said the hospital was prepared to talk to the parents should they choose to file a formal complaint to the board of directors.

The DOH-7 decided to look into the incident despite the absence of a complaint after the incident became viral on social media after the baby’s father posted  photos of his son on his Facebook account.

The baby was born on May 3 but had to stay in the hospital because he was given antibiotics to treat a possible infection.

Ryan Noval narrated on his Facebook page that his wife Jasmine went to visit their son at the nursery room at 8 p.m. on May 9 and was shocked to see a piece of adhesive tape on their son’s upper lip.

She asked the attending nurse why there was tape on her son’s mouth.

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“The reply she got from the nurse was,   ‘Your baby was too noisy (crying), so I put that over his mouth,’” Ryan wrote in his Facebook post.

“With whatever reasons that nurse may have had to gag our son, there were other factors why our 5-day-old baby was crying,” he added.

When Jasmine checked, Ryan said, it turned out that the baby had peed.

She then asked the nurse to take the tape off but was told to just take it off herself.

Jasmine tried to remove the tape but had difficulty doing so. Eventually, the attending nurse had to take the tape off. But in the process of removing it, a piece of the baby’s skin was peeled off with the tape.

Jasmine reported the incident to the hospital’s information desk and was told to keep the photos she took as evidence.

Asked if they planned to press charges, Ryan told the Inquirer that he wanted to see first how the hospital was handling the issue before deciding on what step to take next.

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