DOH: No organ removal without kin’s consent
Not only did a doctor at Tondo Medical Center (TMC) remove the kidneys of 13-year-old Aldrinne Pineda without his parents’ consent, the procedure was done when he was still alive on March 2.
Pineda’s mother, Michelle, told the Inquirer on Monday she believed that had her son’s kidneys not been removed, he would still be alive.
“My son was still strong before he was operated on [to remove the bullet in his stomach]. He was raising his arms and telling me he would fight to live,” she said.
Pineda visibly weakened, however, after the operation performed by Dr. Sa-adi Sacar.
“He was looking at me after the operation. He cried and cried. It seemed like he wanted to tell me something but he couldn’t because there were tubes all over his body,” Michelle said of her son.
Asked for comment, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said that doctors were not allowed to remove the organs of children without their parents’ permission.
“You cannot just do that,” Duque told the Inquirer over the phone. Saying he has yet to be briefed about Pineda’s case, he added that he would wait for the explanation of the hospital director.
When informed about Michelle’s plan to file a case against TMC, Duque replied: “Once a formal complaint reaches my office, we will form a fact-finding team to conduct an investigation.”
“We will check if there’s probable cause so we can charge who ever did that,” he said.
TMC is under the direct supervision of the national government through the Department of Health (DOH).
Pineda, a Grade 6 student, was shot in the stomach by PO2 Omar Malinao of the Raxabago police station in Tondo, Manila, on the night of March 2. The lawman claimed he was running after looters near the Vitas Slaughterhouse when he tripped and accidentally fired his gun. The boy was rushed to the hospital but died the next day.
The Inquirer went to TMC to talk to Sacar but he refused to comment, saying he could not grant any interview without the hospital director’s permission.
According to Michelle, Sacar approached her around 11 p.m. on March 2, just hours
after he operated on Pineda.
“I asked him about my son’s condition. He kept on fidgeting. He would sit down and then stand up. I told him, ‘Doc, tell me the truth. What is it?’ Then he told me, ‘Wait here, mother.’ He went to get something from the operating room,” Michelle said.
“When he came back, he was holding a stainless container. He told me, ‘Don’t be alarmed. These are your son’s organs. I had to take them up because they were torn apart (sabog).’ But when I looked at them, all I could see was a cut that looked as if it was made by a knife,” she added.
The sight of her son’s organs distressed her but Michelle said that seeing him crying on his hospital bed made her more distraught.
“He [Pineda] was crying continuously while looking at me. I told the doctor, ‘Doc, can I donate my kidney for my son?’ Sacar said, ‘Really?’ and I told him, ‘Yes, I want my son to live,’” she recalled.
Pineda, however, died several hours later and his kidneys were returned to his parents three days after his death, in a jar filled with formaldehyde.
“The nurse who gave the jar to me said that the organs should be buried with my son’s body,” Michelle said.
Based on a complaint filed by Michelle, the Commission on Human Rights has started looking into the matter, on top of the circumstances surrounding Pineda’s death and Malinao’s liability.
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