Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged mastermind of the pork barrel scam, apparently has a doctor in mind to perform her much-needed surgery.
The question, however, is: Will the chosen doctor be allowed to operate at the government-run Ospital ng Makati (OsMak) where she is confined? More important, does the hospital have adequate facilities for Napoles’ surgery?
These questions were raised by Dr. Santiago del Rosario, the 86-year-old chairman of the Makati Medical Center’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, who said they are vital in guaranteeing Napoles’ rights as a patient.
The respected and multi-awarded physician said Napoles has not called him regarding her surgery. But details of the businesswoman’s surgery will be known today since Napoles’ relatives met with OsMak Director Dr. Ishmael Peralta on Monday night.
Peralta said he favors Napoles being operated on by her chosen doctor(s) from the St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig City, Metro Manila. But the detained businesswoman will have to get the approval of the Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 150.
Clerk of Court Josfa Valencia said OsMak already communicated Napoles’ request to the court. She added that Judge Elmo Alameda will call a clarificatory hearing on the request before issuing any decision.
“Napoles has not approached me regarding surgery but I believe she has been allowed by the hospital to choose the doctor who will operate on her,” said del Rosario, who was referred to Napoles by the Philippine Medical Association (PMA). He said he has no idea who will perform the surgery.
Peralta said government funds will not be used for Napoles’s confinement and operation since she will pay her own hospital bills.
Asked to comment on how Napoles will pay for surgery when her assets are supposedly frozen, del Rosario said, “Hindi ko alam yan [I don’t know that]. My concern is the medical aspect of her case.” But her relatives and friends said they will raise money for the operation.
Del Rosario expressed shock that some doctors and lawyers are not aware of the rights of patients found in the Declaration of Lisbon that is honored by many doctors and hospitals worldwide.
“This is crucial for government doctors who are treating Napoles to make the right ethical decisions. The court should honor her right to choose her doctor. This right is respected throughout the world,” he stressed.
Although she is considered a “high-profile patient,” Peralta said Napoles will not be getting any VIP or special treatment.
He denied reports that hospital operations have been affected after Napoles was transferred there last Monday from her detention facility at Fort Santo Domingo in Santa Rosa, Laguna..
“We have protocols in place. If we have patients like this, there’s no VIP [very important person]treatment. It’s not the patient we are protecting but the operations of the hospital and other patients. That’s the protocol,” Peralta told reporters.
He described Napoles’ room as ordinary or “very basic” with a bed, private toilet and bathroom.
Peralta said the businesswoman is staying in a single room on the 7th floor that is assigned for patients with infections or special cases like those undergoing chemotherapy.
Strangely, Napoles is not heavily guarded by members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Region 4-A. Peralta said there is no need for additional medical personnel, adding that only two or three nurses will cover one shift.
The day after she was transferred to OsMak, Napoles underwent a battery of tests that included X-ray studies, two-dimensional echocardiogram (2D echo) and a computed tomography (CT) scan. She is scheduled for blood tests today.
Peralta said the tests will determine if Napoles is fit to undergo surgery to remove a cyst in her uterus that is responsible for her profuse bleeding and abdominal pains. But he refused to disclose what kind of surgery will be performed because of the doctor-patient confidentiality.