VSMMC urges compassion for COVID-19 patients amidst suicide incident
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center has expressed sadness over the suicide incident of one of its Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) patient on Tuesday, June 9, 2020.
The patient, a 48-year old male, was admitted at the hospital on June 8, 2020, at 3:08 pm, VSMMC said in an official statement released Tuesday night. He died after jumped from the third floor of the ND Building, where he was kept in isolation together with other COVID-19 patients.
“Everyone can experience emotional, mental, and physical drain at this crucial time. We urge the public to maintain the support and prayers for ALL PATIENTS AND HEALTHCARE WORKERS to AVOID STIGMA AND DISCRIMINATION. We should not add to the burden and sufferings that these fragile populations are experiencing at this time of pandemic. We need encouragement. We need each other,” said VSMMC.
Based on the hospital’s investigation, around 7 a.m. on Tuesday, the change nurse assigned noticed the patient, who was suffering from COVID-19 related pneumonia, was humming or singing a tune in his room on the third floor of the ND Building when he suddenly became agitated and began shouting.
An hour after, the change nurse, who was donning her protective personal equipment (PPE), saw the patient bang his fist on the glass door.
Twenty minutes after, the on-duty guard noticed the patient roaming on the third-floor lobby. He tried to call the patient’s attention to no avail.
“The patient forcibly broke the glass windows near the elevators and jumped to his death towards the ground floor of the ND Building. He was then found in the front of the building with severe bodily injuries,” said VSMMC in their statement.
The patient was immediately examined by the Internal Medicine doctor on duty and the patient was found with an open fracture on the right femur and unresponsive vital signs.
The doctor pronounced him dead-on-the-spot around 8:40 a.m. with the final diagnosis of Multiple Physcial Injury secondary to fall, intentional; COVID-19, mild and probable.
The hospital immediately informed the family of the patient, who later claimed the body around 3 p.m., as well as the police, who conducted the official investigation to the patient’s death.
VSMMC belied the initial reports that they denied the entry of the police investigators who responded to the scene, and claimed that the delay was due to the safety health protocols they had to put in place for the police’s safety.
They also denied that the body of the patient was immediately cremated as the medical facility does not have a crematorium nor would they dispose of a body without the permission of the family or next of kin of the person.
** Those facing huge personal problems or experiencing extreme sadness can reach out to and call Tawag Paglaum Centro Bisaya if they need someone to talk to. Tawag Paglaum Centro Bisaya is a 24/7 call-based hotline for suicide prevention and emotional crisis intervention established in Cebu. Anyone in Central Visayas experiencing a mental disorder relapse or suicidal thoughts may reach the hotline at 0939-936-5433 or 0927-654-1629. /bmjo
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