Will Gov. Davide be a Pontius Pilate?
For evil to triumph it is enough for good men to do nothing,” says Edmund Burke.
Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III will either confirm or negate what his critics have always thought of him to be: spineless and pathetic. This depends on how he handles the incident that I will talk about below.
The Cebu Provincial Health Office (PHO) ended up its “investigation” against an alleged negligent doctor of Pinamungahan District Hospital without a concrete result as to how to improve the health services of the province, a point that is totally missed.
Such investigation was conducted after a letter-complaint addressed to Gov. Davide. He referred it to PHO. I was furnished with a copy, so I am aware that the complainant, Mr. Tomas Larano, is supported by two ambulance drivers as his witnesses against Dr. Teresita Bucado of the abovementioned hospital.
The complainant narrated that his underaged son, John Michael, was immediately brought to the hospital after a vehicular accident in Pinamungahan, Cebu on August 24, 2016. Because the hospital is unequipped, the patient who suffered blood clot in his head and at that time vomited blood, was referred to Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) in Cebu City.
He alleged that it took a long time to transfer his son to VSMMC because Dr. Bucado deliberately held the referral, an important requirement for VSMMC to accept the patient. The ambulance was supposed to depart at past 6 o’clock in the morning but because they waited for the doctor, it was almost noon when they started moving.
While on their way to the city, Dr. Bucado ordered the driver to make a side trip to a mall in Toledo City because she still had to buy something.
When they reached Cebu City the said doctor ordered the driver to take her to her house in Pardo, Cebu City. That was the only time that they knew that the doctor only hitched a ride in the ambulance. The poor victim died.
The PHO’s grievance committee found lapses on the use of the ambulance. However, the reporters, who were not allowed to cover the “investigation”, were just told later that the parties came up with a settlement. As a result, the doctor was not punished, not even suspended — and worse not even reprimanded. Is this not gangsterism?
Dr. Rene Catan, head of PHO, came up with a “recommendation” and a new “policy” that next time doctors will not be allowed to hitch a ride on an ambulance and he also wanted to adopt the black box principle in handling daily hospital operations.
Efforts were made to hear the side of Dr. Bucado, but she opted not to comment on it. So let me consider it as a waiver on her side.
The inevitable questions are on the aspect of competence and common sense. Is Dr. Bucado really competent in her job? Didn’t she know that a patient who suffered blood clot in his head and later on vomited blood needed urgent proper treatment? Did she forget what she learned, if there is any, from the college of medicine?
If motorists give way to an ambulance running on the street, is it not fatally ironic for a doctor to cause it to delay? Or did she just look down on poor patients?
On the part of Dr. Catan, after absolving the doctor, what message does he send to the Cebuanos? Does he want to maintain a doctor whose competence and common sense are in question? What standard does the province have in terms of health services under the leadership of Catan?
Going back to Dr. Catan’s recommendation on disallowing doctors to hitch a ride in an ambulance: is it not a matter of common sense? Is he not in effect insulting the intelligence of other doctors, except his, if he has any, and Dr. Bucado’s?
What about the so-called black box principle? Can he punish abusive personnel on the basis of what is recorded in it? He is even inutile when there is a formal complaint, how much more when there is none?
By the way, what happened to the PHO “investigation” of a doctor in Tuburan who allegedly injected the patient with expired medicine? How about the doctor in Minglanilla who allegedly refused to treat a poor patient? In both incidents, the patients died.
Considering that the recent complaint is addressed to Gov. Davide, will he be contented to just sit down and accept the result of PHO’s “investigation” blindly? Is he just confirming the observation of former governor Lito Osmeña, his supporter, that “Davide buotan, apan way kalibutan”?
“Everyone who knows what the right thing to do and doesn’t do it commits a sin.” (James 4:17). I hope that Davide will not be the Governor Pontius Pilate in the new era.
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