Joseph Estrada scolds lady doctor; boss defends her
A pediatrician at the local government-run Ospital ng Maynila recently got a scolding from Mayor Joseph Estrada. Her supposed offense: Telling the mother of a dengue-stricken child to seek help elsewhere.
In a statement Thursday, City Hall said Dr. Doris Torres drew the mayor’s ire because of her “indifference to patients.”
Torres has yet to respond at press time when the Inquirer sought her comment, but her boss—hospital administrator Edwin Perez—came to her defense, belying the complaint reaching the mayor.
It all started Wednesday when Gina Lumtong, 31, of Barangay 775, San Andres, aired her complaint during a dialogue between Estrada and officials of Manila’s fifth district.
According to the statement, Lumtong earlier brought her daughter to Ospital for her high fever, frequent vomiting and nosebleeding, after receiving word that she could get free services.
But she was “surprised and disappointed when told by the doctor to first get some needed laboratory tests from another hospital, specifically the Philippine General Hospital (PGH).”
Such tests would cost her about P2,000 but she had only about P120 in her pocket, so she decided to look for other hospitals where her 6-year-old daughter could be treated for free, it said.
Insisting that medical services in city-run hospitals are free, Estrada told Lumtong to go with him to Ospital ng Maynila so they could personally confront Torres.
At the hospital, Estrada “scolded the doctor” by telling her: “Ginagawa ko ang lahat para sa ating mga ospital, tapos ganyan lang ang ginagawa n’yo sa mga pasyente. Emergency, tapos ituturo nyo pa sa ibang ospital. At dun n’yo pa itinuro sa PGH eh meron namang ibang ospital ng Manila City Hall na libre ang serbisyo. (I’m doing everything for our hospitals and yet this is how you treat patients. There’s an emergency and yet you point them to another hospital, to PGH, when the city government has other hospitals where services are free.)”
But Perez, the hospital administrator, denied that Torres had asked Lumtong to seek help from another hospital. He said what happened was just a mere misunderstanding.
According to Perez, Lumtong arrived at the emergency room around 1:40 a.m. of Dec. 6 and told the doctors that her daughter had dengue.
But Torres told the mother that her child needed to undergo a series of tests first. Perez explained that the doctor could not yet consider the child a dengue patient without lab results as basis.
Perez said Torres also asked the mother to subject the child to blood tests, whose results would then be forwarded to PGH for another set of lab tests.
“While waiting for the result of the blood test, another mother, whose child also had dengue, told [Lumtong] that, like her, she would have to shoulder those additional expenses amounting to P1,000 or P2,000. After that [Lumtong] left. Maybe she got scared by that story. But it’s not Dr. Torres who said that. Actually, the doctor didn’t know that she had left,” Perez said.
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