Editorial: Hospital’s denial

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014


WE NOW have a clearer view of where the Cebu Puericulture Center and Maternity House wants to bring the issue on the alleged taping of the mouth of a newborn inside its nursery last month. In a letter to the Department of Health (DOH) 7, lawyer Cornelio Mercado said that the hospital has concluded that none of its personnel did the taping.

The letter did not categorically say that the baby’s parents did it but the insinuation is obvious. There was enough suspicion raised on their actions inside the nursery.

DOH 7 Director Jaime Bernadas clarified that Mercado’s letter merely constituted the hospital’s initial response to the issue and is not a result of the in-house investigation it supposedly conducted. “It was just a general statement, there were no details,” Bernadas said.

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Yesterday, Bernadas received another letter, this time from the hospital’s medical director, Dr. Raida Varona, containing an “institutional report” about the incident.

Varona said that it is their “firm conviction” that their nurses did not do the taping. She also denied the use of a pacifier. The blame now seems to shift to the mother, Jasmine Badocdoc, who was inside the nursery to breastfeed the baby and the father, Ryan Noval, who also reportedly went there even if he was not allowed to.

Because of this development, Noval and Badocdoc should file a case to settle the issue once and for all. Besides, they are already being pictured as having made things up.

They should go to court if they want the truth to come out.

Meanwhile, it’s good that other government agencies are looking into the matter. An inter-agency meeting that DOH 7 initiated yesterday had representatives from the Commission on Human Rights, Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Philippine National Police.

Getting to the bottom of the incident is important because this concerns the quality of the country’s health care. Bernadas, in an earlier interview, himself admitted that this is the first time he received a complaint about the taping of a baby’s mouth in a hospital.

This case should enlighten the public about regulations that are in place in health facilities, like nurseries. The taping of the baby’s mouth, for example, is a “no-no” and the use of pacifiers is not encouraged.

That means that if the claim of the baby’s parents is proven true, then the quality of the service of the hospital can be questioned. And it should prod DOH 7 to look into the condition of other medical facilities in the region also.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 22, 2014.

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