A 25-year-old nurse working for the Balamban Provincial Hospital has accused a public school teacher and her husband of allegedly harassing her inside the hospital last week.
The nurse, a 25-year-old resident of Toledo City, filed a complaint before the Balamban Police Station against Cynthia Kiamco and her husband, Jun, for alleged slander by deeds.
The nurse claimed that the couple took turns harassing her and forcibly took her identification card while she was on duty at the hospital.
SunStar Cebu tried to get Kiamco’s side on the matter, but she refused to be interviewed.
“Kung mukiha man gane na siya, amo na lang atubangon (If she will file a case, we’ll answer it),” Kiamco said.
The incident was caught on video and was posted on Facebook. The video has been shared at least 16,000 times as of press time.
Following the incident, the Cebu Provincial Government and the Philippine Nurses’ Association (PNA) are conducting separate investigations.
In her complaint, the nurse said she was working at her station in the hospital at noon last Nov. 14 when Kiamco approached her.
Kiamco was identified as a school teacher in one of the town’s public schools, but health officials are still verifying which school.
Kiamco, along with four others from her household, were confined in the Balamban Provincial Hospital after they were reportedly suffering from acute gastroenteritis.
In the viral video, Kiamco was caught shouting at the nurse at the nurses’ station.
Dr. Rene Catan, PHO head, told SunStar Cebu that the patient was reportedly angry at the nurse for failing to come to their assistance.
Kiamco reportedly complained that there was a backflow of blood in her intravenous fluid tube.
They were reportedly told by the nursing supervisor that the backflow on her IV set was not serious.
But Kiamco went to the nurses’ station to confront the nurse on-duty.
In the viral video, the nurse and patient are both seen arguing; the patient claimed that the former failed to come to her ward and flush out the blood from her IV set.
The argument escalated when the patient’s husband approached the nurse and forcibly took the ID hanging from a lanyard around her neck. The nurse was seen crying in the viral video after Kiamco’s husband removed her ID.
She also claimed during their argument that Kiamco poked her finger at her face and shoulder, causing an injury.
Hours after the incident, Kiamco and her four companions decided to have themselves discharged from the hospital.
Kiamco and her companions were brought to a private hospital in Cebu City for further medical attention and were discharged only yesterday.
Khail Castillo, a nurse from Mandaue City, was the first person to share the video on Facebook.
In an interview with Sunstar Cebu, Castillo claimed that he shared the video because he felt sorry for the nurse.
“Naluoy ko sa (I pity the) nurse. And as a nurse, it’s degrading,” Castillo added.
But in a statement posted on Facebook, which was taken down a few hours later, a relative of Kiamco’s defended her from criticism thrown against her by netizens.
Fleur Cereño Villarin, who identified herself as Kiamco’s daughter, said that Kiamco’s anger was justified as they were not properly cared for by hospital personnel.
“Humans as we are, we have our limits and sick as we are, we are very much protective of the only lives we have,” Villarin said.
She also urged netizens to not judge Kiamco and her father as the video posted on Facebook was not the complete story.
After the video went viral last week, PNA Cebu officials went to Balamban yesterday to conduct a preliminary investigation.
Stephen Descallar, PNA Cebu president, told SunStar Cebu that they condemn the harassment done on the nurse.
“We denounce the act of harassment and maltreatment done to one of our nurses,” Descallar said.
(Last night, the PNA relayed the nurse’s request that she not be identified in this story because she was receiving so many messages on Facebook.)
Descallar said they were disappointed by Kiamko’s actions, especially since only a few nurses are working in Balamban.
In Balamban, the nurse-to-patient ratio is two nurses to 45 patients, Descallar added.
Marylou Ong, PNA Central Visayas governor, said the nurse’s plight is but one of many incidents that nurses in the country experience on a daily basis.
“We are often maltreated, exploited, overworked, underpaid and prone to harassment,” Ong said.
She urged the government to not take for granted nurses working in private and public hospitals around the country.
On the other hand, Catan said that the nurse must also answer some allegations such as why she refused to show her ID to Kiamco when she was confronted.
She also refused to identify herself when Kiamco asked for her name.
He also noted that the nurses’s tone was confrontational when she talked with Kiamco.
“Siguro dili maayo pagkatubag sa staff mao tong naing-ato (Maybe the nurse didn’t properly answer them, that’s why it happened),” Catan said.
The Capitol, through the Provincial Council for the Welfare of Children (PCWC), will send today a gender and development officer to Balamban to investigate the reported rift.
Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale, chair of the PCWC, said that since the medical personnel was a female, the PCWC will be among the concerned agencies that will look into the matter.
“I’m a little worried as to how the incident led to the patient allegedly verbally and physically abusing the nurse,” she said.
Magpale added that the Provincial Health Office is already conducting a separate investigation on the matter. (RTF, JKV)
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on November 20, 2017.
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