Couple sues hospital in Cebu City for P5.2M

A MEMBER of a prominent family in Cebu City is suing the medical personnel of Chong Hua Hospital for allegedly being negligent in inserting an intravenous (IV) port into the left hand of a then four-day-old infant in October 2014.

Wesley Chiongbian and wife Laurice filed the civil complaint for damages and specific performance yesterday before the Regional Trial Court against the hospital, which is operated Associacion Benevola de Cebu, Inc. They are asking for P5.2 million in damages.

Assisted by their lawyer Joan Largo, the couple lamented that the hospital medical personnel’s improper insertion of the IV port into Noa Elise, who is now six months old, caused severe swelling that left permanent scars on the baby’s hand.

Symptoms

The baby was admitted to the hospital on Oct. 30, 2014 due to recurring fever for two days. Except for a persistent fever, the baby had a good functional status when she was taken to the hospital. Upon admission, a nurse inserted the IV port into the baby’s left arm.

The baby’s arm was then wrapped with diaper, concealing her fingers up to the elbow. The IV port was not also visible due to the layers of plaster tape used.

Later that night, Laurice requested the emergency room nurse to check the IV port because of back flow, but this was reportedly ignored. Wesley again requested the nurse to check the baby’s hand, but the nurse only performed a “cursory check.”

The next day, Laurice told the attending nurse that the baby was showing pain and discomfort when injected with antibiotics. The IV port also remained unchecked despite their repeated requests to the nurses.

On Nov.1, the couple said they noticed extreme swelling on the baby’s upper arm, just below her elbow. When the nurse removed the diaper that wrapped the child’s left hand, the baby’s left hand had blistering and severe swelling.

Burns

When the child was discharged, she had chemical burns on her left hand. The couple suspects that IV infiltration-related chemical burned their baby’s left arm.

Dr. Helen Po, the hospital’s medical director, reportedly had the matter investigated and told them they “have not been religiously implementing safe and quality patient care.”

Sun.Star Cebu tried calling the hospital but no one took the call.

In her letter which the couple attached to their complaint, Po also noted that the baby needed hypertonic (glucose) solution as ordered by the attending physician. Hypertonic solutions carry with them inherent risk and should therefore be conducted by “multidisciplinary health care team” and not just nurses.

‘We were remiss’

“Your unfortunate experience with us was a stark realization that we have not been religiously implementing safe and quality patient care. We were remiss and we deeply apologize for it,” read Po’s letter.

Po said she called for an emergency meeting and directed the Office of the Quality Council, Continuing Medical and Nursing Education to have its medical staff to be educated and trained in the administration of glucose solutions.

But the couple said the hospital medical personnel should have exercised extraordinary diligence and caution in treating and handling their baby.

The damages being sought include P2 million as actual and temperate damages; P2 million as exemplary damages; P1 million as moral damages; and P200,000 as attorney’s fees.

Apart from damages, the couple also asked the court to direct the hospital management to issue a public apology, or to conduct a public awareness campaign on the risk of wrong IV insertion.

The couple also wants the hospital management to present its in-house protocols for proper intravenous care and the results of their administrative investigation on the nurses and physicians involved in the treatment of the baby. (Sun.Star Cebu)

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