Health office exec welcomes probe-A A +A
Saturday, September 15, 2012
THE medico-legal officer of the City Health Office (CHO) finally broke his silence over accusation hurled against him by parents of the one-year-old boy who died after receiving two shots of vaccines.
Dr. Danilo Ledesma, in a telephone interview, said he welcomes the investigation ordered by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio after the parents of Khean Mark M. Boco filed a formal complaint against him for refusing to sign the toddler's death certificate and even tore it.
Ledesma said the Khean's aunt went to his office on September 7 requesting him to conduct the autopsy on the boy so that he could sign the death certificate.
The doctor said he told the aunt to go to the Southern Philippines Medical Center or the Davao City Police Office because he cannot perform the autopsy due to ethical reasons.
"Dili ko ang mu-autopsy para walay bias," Ledesma said he is with the CHO and the midwife of Barangay 8-A are also under the same office.
On September 10, Ledesma said the boy's aunt returned to his office with the boy's parents.
This time, he learned that an autopsy had already been done on the boy's body. The parents were asking for his signature on the death certificate.
Ledesma explained that his signature on the death certificate is only ministerial as medico-legal officer of the CHO and that he can only sign provided the doctor who performed the autopsy had his signature affixed on it.
Boco's death certificate form bore no signature of the pathologist thus, Ledesma's refusal to affix his signature.
Ledesma, who has been a medico-legal officer of the CHO since 1991, explained that his refusal was based on a doctor's ethical standard adding that it was not right to sign for the pathologist.
The boy’s parents insisted for his signature because the completed document for the boy's burial. When he refused, he overheard saying the boy's family that they will seek the help of the media.
"The physician who last attended to the deceased boy is the one who should fill out the death certificate and state the cause of his death," he added.
Ledesma said it just saddens him that he is the one being singled out in the furor as if he was the one responsible for the boy's death.
The doctor said he is planning to file charges against a radio station who has been maligning his name.
The investigation headed by Erwin Alparaque, chief of the City Hall's Human Resource and Management Office (HRMO), he said, will clear his name. "I will only tell the truth," he added.
Earlier, the mayor assured that due process will be given to Ledesma.
Duterte-Carpio said on Saturday she did not order the temporary suspension of Ledesma pending result of an investigation being conducted by a probe team.
"Due process man ang atong ginasunod, he is allowed to answer the complaint. This is the essence of the grievance procedure," the mayor said.
It can be recalled that the young Boco was injected with two shots of vaccines by a midwife of Barangay 8-A in Madapo.
A day after, the boy suddenly died. Maridelma S. Boco, the boy's mother, claimed that her son was well before he was injected with the vaccine.
Aside from the oral Polio Vaccine, the boy was injected with two shots of vaccine -- the Pentavalent vaccine (five in one vaccine) injected intra-muscularly or directly into the muscle and the BCG against tuberculosis (TB).
Pentavalent vaccine, which is manufactured by Panacea Biotec, contains the vaccines against diphtheria, tetanus, whole cell pertussis, hepatitis B and h-influenza type b components, and two other vaccines -- a DTwP-hepatitis B vaccine and a monovalent hepatitis B vaccine.
Ledesma added that the boy's death is an isolated case and still cannot link the administration of vaccines to the kid's death.
The Department of Health (DOH) in Davao region, on the other hand, said the Boco's death could be a case called the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (Sids).
DOH regional director Dr. Abdullah B. Dumama Jr. earlier said they cannot rule out the possibility that the boy has other health condition which caused his instantaneous death.
But he said they are still waiting for the result of the microscopic autopsy being conducted by the Southern Philippines Medical Center.
Dumama said Sids is a sudden and unexplained death of an infant below one-year-old who appears to be normal and fit.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on September 16, 2012.