Parents want to go to court over #tapedbaby incident

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014


CEBU CITY (Updated) -- The parents of a newborn whose lip was taped while in a hospital’s care have decided to go to court, despite the hospital’s expression of regret.

Their decision prompted the Regional Subcommittee for the Welfare of Children (RSCWC) to terminate its investigation on the incident.

In a statement Tuesday, the Cebu Puericulture Center and Maternity House Inc. (CPCMHI) said it “regrets the events that allegedly transpired on May 9, 2014 in the nursery of our hospital, where baby Yohannes Noval’s mouth appeared to have a piece of tape on his upper lip, and where a pacifier is seen on the side.”

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The hospital said it “does not allow the use of a pacifier or tape to hold it in place, unless ordered by the attending physician. Fortunately, no injury was sustained by the babies.”

After a three-hour hearing held at the Department of Health (DOH) Central Visayas office on Tuesday, the RSCWC decided to end their inquiry without coming up with a resolution, after Noval and Badocdoc’s lawyer decided to press charges against CPCMHI.

Health professionals frown on giving artificial teats or pacifiers to breastfeeding infants. A Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative of the health department and Unicef clearly warns against the practice.

After Noval posted photos of baby Yohannes on Facebook, another parent, Chesiel Lyka Arsua, also shared photos of her baby, Blaire, whom she delivered more than two months earlier.

“Likewise, we regret the emergence of a photo of a second baby, Baby Blaire Arsua, who appears with a pacifier taped to her mouth,” the CPCMHI said in its statement. “A nasal cannula that supplies oxygen is also observed in Baby Blaire’s case.”

The hospital said its trustees welcomed the “ongoing independent investigation being conducted” and will abide by its outcome.

Taped baby's parents says an apology from maternity hospital is no longer enough
CEBU. Ryan Noval (left) confers with lawyer Heidi Orbiso (rightmost) after a three-hour hearing. Noval and his partner Jasmine Badocdoc say they have decided to press charges against a hospital whose staff allegedly taped a pacifier to their newborn’s mouth. (Ruel Rosello)


Apology

Lawyer Orbiso, who appeared before the inter-agency task force on Tuesday to represent Noval and Badocdoc, said they had wanted to wait until the RSCWC released the results of the investigation, before they file the case.

But task force spokesperson and lawyer Dante Jadman urged them to file the case without waiting for that resolution.

Orbiso said the couple, at first, would have been contented with a public apology from the hospital, but decided to go to court after it seemed the hospital was accusing them of being behind the incident.

Jadman, who represented the Commission on Human Rights in the task force, said that the fact-finding investigation had done its part in trying to get information that could help agencies, such as the Department of Health, implement policies to improve hospital services.

Before the couple’s lawyer appeared, hospital’s officials had told the investigating body that it doesn’t have a child protection policy.

Representatives of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said that the child protection policy is necessary to ensure that the rights of the newborn are given priority.

Another baby?

Amid these developments, radio DyLA reported on Tuesday that the family of a third baby whose mouth had also been taped has spoken to them.

Lucresio Son, 54, claimed that his grandchild, who was born last August 8, had her mouth taped to hold a pacifier in place.

Son, who hails from Barangay Tabunan in Cebu City, recalled that three days after his daughter Lushella gave birth, they visited the hospital again to pick up the mother and baby, and that’s when they saw the incident.

He had no photos or video to prove his claim.

Acting Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella wants the management of the maternity center to explain their stand on the taping of pacifiers on babies’ mouths while in their care.

“Is this their standard practice? This is not only a violation of human rights, it’s also a form of cruelty to these newborn babies,” he told reporters on Tuesday. He planned to write the hospital a letter and have it delivered Tuesday afternoon.

City’s help

In a news conference Tuesday, Labella said that the City would also extend legal assistance to the complainants if they need help.

Labella, a lawyer, said he thought that the alleged taping of a baby boy’s mouth earlier this month was an isolated case, but it apparently is not after another parent disclosed that the same thing was done to her newborn last February 24.

“The hospital concerned should make a statement on whether this practice is allowed. It’s becoming more alarming because it’s not just a case of one baby… Even if the tape is just for the purpose of holding the pacifier in place, it’s still cruelty because the baby’s skin is very sensitive,” he added.

Although it’s the DOH and the CHR that have jurisdiction over the regulation of the hospital and investigation, respectively, Labella said the City Government may intervene since the hospital operates in the city and the City has to promote and protect public welfare. (Sun.Star Cebu)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 28, 2014.

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