Hospital sued for ‘keeping’ patient with unpaid bills

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Tuesday, February 4, 2014


A CIVIL petition was filed in court yesterday accusing a private hospital in Cebu City of illegally detaining its patient for one month over unpaid bills of about P500,000.

Petitioner Dessie Po, of Barangay Apas, Cebu City, filed the habeas corpus petition before the Regional Trial Court to compel Cebu Velez General Hospital Inc. to release her younger brother, Sherwin Go.

Named respondents were hospital officials Charife Elguerra, Dr. Carmen Velez, Edna Cala, Atty. Terrence Fernandez, Ma. Mona Velez, and Agnes, Dennis and James Louis Ting.

In a phone interview yesterday, Elguerra, the hospital's billing section supervisor, said what they asked for from the patient's family are just post-dated checks to at least guarantee payment for unpaid hospital bills.

Elquerra said the 42-year-old patient has been overstaying in the hospital since his doctors discharged him on Dec.8, 2013.

She denied berating the patient's family members when they visited her office to discuss the supposed payment arrangement.

Sherwin was confined at Velez Hospital after he suffered a hypertensive attack last Oct. 27, 2013. He was diagnosed with hemorrhage, or blood clot, caused by a stroke.

He underwent craniectomy, a neurosurgical procedure that involves removing a portion of the skull to relieve pressure on the underlying brain.

In the first week of December 2013, the doctors informed Sherwin's family members that he may be discharged from the hospital.

The patient's family went to Elguerra's office to arrange the discharge of the patient. But Elguerra allegedly told the patient's family members that Sherwin cannot be discharged until he pays the balance on his hospital bill.

The patient's family said they spent about P600,000 for Sherwin's medicines, doctors' fees, among other hospital expenses.

They said they sent a promissory note to Elguerra, but the latter told them that she would only accept cash, post-dated checks or land titles.

The Commission on Human Rights asked the hospital to release Sherwin on “humanitarian grounds.”

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 04, 2014.

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