Garcia family open to dialogue with hospital

THE Garcia family is open to a dialogue with the management and medical personnel of Chong Hua Hospital (CHH) with some conditions.

The hospital must release medical records of the late former Dumanjug Mayor Nelson Garcia and Barili Mayor Marlon Garcia, and the attending doctors have to be present in the dialogue.

Lawyer Winston Garcia, brother of Nelson and Marlon, said this in a teleconference with reporters Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020. He was reacting to the CHH statement issued Friday that said the hospital was “ready to dialogue with them, and provide any answer that may help them in their search for closure.”

Garcia said he was surprised by the CHH statement considering that the hospital initially refused to release his brothers’ medical records unless he presented documents such as death certificates, valid identification cards and special power of attorney to process the request.

“If they have nothing to hide and if they can explain to us why, after letting us spend almost P9 million, my two brothers died, then give us the records first and then let’s call the dialogue with the two doctors because we have a lot of questions,” Garcia said.

In the same interview, he said the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) assured the family that around P1.5 million or P750,000 per patient will be deducted from their brothers’ medical bills. Just before they died, Marlon incurred around P5.4 million in hospital bills while Nelson incurred P3.3 million.

Garcia, a former Government Service Insurance System general manager, also said he wants to talk to the two attending doctors as they reportedly refused to answer calls.

On allegations that he and his family were committing “doctor shaming,” Garcia said they were merely looking for answers behind their brothers’ deaths.

Meanwhile, Dr. Jerald Mark Garcia, nephew of the deceased, posted on Facebook, “The Garcias are not ‘doctor shaming,’ nor are they seeking vengeance of any sort, they are simply asking for accountability from the doctors and institutions involved - for the family’s own closure and for the benefit of the public.”

This statement was posted also by Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia on her Facebook account Saturday. Dr. Garcia is a US-based medical doctor and also the governor’s nephew.

Dr. Garcia, in his post, added, “The Garcias have every right to ask questions about the medical care that was provided to not one, but two of their kin, both of which resulted in deaths less than a week apart. If you have nothing to hide, then just answer the questions raised. They deserve that transparency at least - especially after you had just handed them a P8.5-million medical bill! If your conscience is clear, then no need to hide behind social media gimmickry (such as cute hashtags, profile picture changes or generic general statements). Just answer their questions.”

Nelson and Marlon were both cleared of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) days after they were admitted at the hospital. Governor Garcia and another brother, Rep. Pablo John Garcia (Cebu, 3rd district), held a press conference Thursday to ask why their brothers died. “They recovered from Covid and were ready to go home, so...why?” a Sugbo News report quoted Representative Garcia.

“If their deaths are to have any meaning, then let’s ask the questions so that the lessons we’ll learn from these questions may perhaps save other people’s lives,” he said. “We cannot bring back our brothers to life, but perhaps we can save others from dying.”

The report said mayors Marlon and Nelson recovered from Covid-19 and had tested negative around the third week of August. However, last Sept. 1, Nelson died of cardiopulmonary arrest secondary to probable massive pulmonary embolism. Days later, on Sept. 6, Marlon died of septic shock secondary to catheter-related blood stream infection and ventilator-associated pneumonia.

With this, it would seem that the immediate causes of both their deaths were the post-Covid treatment and medical interventions, Representative Garcia said. “As of now, we are asking questions. And yes, we will ask experts to weigh-in,” he added. (ANV / JKV)


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