Many hospitals are for profit only

Moje Ramos-Aquino, Fpm

Moje Ramos-Aquino, Fpm

I will give a running account on what the Cruz family experienced dealing with several hospitals.

First I got this message:  I am rushing to the hospital,  My son. Harold Cruz, will be operated on. His skull will be opened, mastoidectomy. I am so scared, when I had heart surgery I was never this afraid.  I am so afraid for my son please help me pray for them. Salamat po.

Here’s their story, I have omitted some narrative:
At about 11:30 a.m., while I was at work I got a text from my daughter in law. They rushed my son Harold Cruz to the hospital.  I went to San Luis District hospital and found my son, very pale, sweating yet chilling in a very hot ward. When he woke up, he recognized me and motioned me to come nearer. He kissed me and whispered, “I love you papa”. My initial reaction . . . was to transfer him to a better hospital. And thats what I did. His mother in law said, Mexico Community Hospital is a better hospital so we arranged for his transfer. It was indeed a better hospital, with private room but the doctors there recommended his transfer to another hospital.

So I arranged for another ambulance to bring Harold to Mother Theresa of Calcutta Medical Center. He was admitted after I paid P30,000 deposit. YES, they demanded deposit. All the while I thought that is no longer allowed. My son remained to be disoriented. The hospital staff said Harold needed to be at ICU because of the pressure on his skull that is making him disoriented.

Later on they said he had Bacterial Menengitis.  He was given antibiotics and his disorientation lessened. But after seven days, there is no significant improvement so they changed his medication.

Harold’s CT scan showed that his condition deteriorated.  For me, I feel he has improved a lot from December 5. Medyo mahina pa lamang pero matalas ang kaniyang isip at maayos kausap.

My blood pressure rose at Mother Theresa of Calcutta Hospital. Their policy is that unpaid bill should not exceed P10,000 . We had paid P118,000.  A few days later the bill rose to P255,000 and the hospital will not allow us to get medicine, unless the bill is paid. I pleaded with the head nurse that they give Harold medication since I am on my way to settle the account. Unfortunately, they did not give him medicine until after I deposited another P100,000.

I have heard that many patients choose to leave the hospital because of this policy. My concern is their policy is wrong, stopping medication when requests for additional deposit is not done.

Would you believe we are still at the Mother Theresa of Calcutta Medical Center?  There are still problems on transferring him, the ambulance ride from San Fernando to Katipunan, Quezon City is P9,700.

Harold was transferred to Quirino Memorial Hospital.

Harold was transferred at ICU. They said it is not only bacterial mengitis but chronic mastoiditis. Let us pray for him.

It seems that many of our hospitals are now purely business concerns and their primordial goal is profit.  I remember when my mom was still alive and we brought her to Mission Hospital, Cainta, for UTI.  The doctors said she needed to be confined for at least three days.  She was in a ward with 10 other patients.  When we checked out, our bill amounted to Php35,000.  Two doctors charged Php10,000 each.  There was only one doctor who attended to her from admission to going home.  I was told that the other doctor wrote the prescription for laboratory tests.  Huh?!?!?!?

Who do we call in cases like this?  Who police/audit private hospitals?  What recourse does the Cruz family have?

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  1. I had seen and heard many heartbreaking stories like the one mentioned in this article about how lousy our health system is. It is shocking hospital won’t treat the patient if no deposit is made, or if no further additional payment is given to the hospital.

    The truth is the Philippines, despite its government’s claim that it is now a leading economy in Asia, has not made much progress on delivering adequate health care to its citizens. Our public hospitals are crowded, lack medications and modern medical equipment and its personnel – doctors, nurses, technicians, housekeeping people, ambulance attendants, etc. are poorly paid. On the other hand, the private hospitals which are geared mainly for profit, are way out of reach of ordinary citizens. I had even heard of horror stories of bodies of deceased patients held hostage by hospitals for the inability of their relatives to pay for their hospital bills. A survey says 6 out of Filipinos who succumbed to sickness die without having attended to by a physician.

    I will not mention the many advanced countries that give their citizens universal health coverage, which means that a patient is checked by a doctor and admitted to hospital and then released later without paying a cent. Some would argue, its because those countries are rich. However, there are poor developing countries which, despite being poor – Malaysia, Costa Rica, Cuba and Bhutan have free universal health care coverage for their citizens. If Mexico gives free heath care to its poor – why can’t the Philippines do the same?

    The reason why our healthcare system is rotten is because our government is rotten. The Philippine government would rather dole out hundreds of billions of the people’s money in things where the greatest kickbacks could be had – PDAF, DAP, presidential pork barrel, road projects, etc. Filipinos will have to get rid of corrupt and inept politcos first before our medical system improves.

    • Gobyerno-Pilipinas can build more clinics in the provinces and gobyerno-Pilipinas can hire more doctors, nurses and midwives to staff these clinics. But first, gobyerno-Pilipinas has to raises taxes. Problema, sinong Pilipino ang magsasabi na “okey lang, payag akong magbayad ng mas mataas na buwis”.