THE Regional Trial Court (RTC) has directed Chong Hua Hospital to answer the damage suit filed by a couple from Cebu City.

The couple sued the hospital for allegedly being negligent in inserting an intravenous (IV) port into the left hand of a then four-day-old infant last October.

RTC Branch 5 clerk of court Manuel Nollora gave the hospital 15 days to answer the civil complaint of Wesley Chiongbian and wife Laurice last May 22.

Nollora, a lawyer, reminded the hospital to refrain from filing a motion to dismiss and instead state its ground for dismissal when they answer the petition.

“If you fail to answer within the time fixed, the plaintiff will take judgment by default and may grant the relief applied for in the complaint,” the RTC summons read.

Sun.Star Cebu tried to get a statement from the hospital through its legal department yesterday, but no one answered the phone.

The couple is asking for P5.2 million in damages from the hospital, which is operated by the Associacion Benevola de Cebu, Inc.

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

The baby was admitted to the hospital on Oct. 30, 2014 due to recurring fever. 

Upon admission, a nurse inserted the IV port into the baby’s left arm. 

Diaper

The baby’s arm was then wrapped with a 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.

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 ordered the investigation of the case and admitted to the couple that they “have not been religiously implementing safe and quality patient care.” 

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 be conducted by a “multidisciplinary health care team” and not just nurses.