Doctor: EO 53, ‘overreaching’

A DAVAO City-based medical practitioner called Executive Order 53 (EO 53), which requires incoming patients referred to hospitals in Davao City to secure a negative Covid-19 reverse transmission-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test result, as an “overreach,” thus urging the government to “trust the hospitals.”

In a statement issued on Saturday, September 26, Dr. Jack Estuart, Medical Director of Brokenshire Hospital from 1994 to 2010, said that there is no need for the city to issue an EO since hospitals have their respective Covid-19 policies in place and are “evolving based on new understanding and the developing science and evidence.”

"Trust the hospitals that they know what they are doing. The hospitals have the competence and the mechanisms to make policies based on their unique situations and based on current and other regulatory guidelines plus the current evidence," Estuart said.

The doctor issued the statement a day after Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio issued EO. 53 requiring Covid-19 testing for patients referred to any hospitals in the city and for other purposes.

According to the EO, all patients referred to hospitals in the city, excluding Southern Philippine Medical Center (SPMC), are now required to submit an RT-PCR test taken within 24 to 48 hours.

This after Davao City recorded cases of suspected Covid-19 patients going to other health facilities in the city for a medical check-up.

The city has only designated SPMC as the receiving medical facility for all Covid-19-related cases to protect healthcare workers and patients in other hospitals.

“Kung pasagdan nato siya nga magsige og kahitabo sa atoang hospitals, ang katong goal nato nga iprotect ang tanang hospitals from Covid-19 para makapadayon sila sa ilahang Non-Covid nga pagtrabaho, dili nato mabuhat (If we allow this happen in our hospitals, our goal of protecting and allowing non-Covid hospitals to continue with their non-Covid work will not happen),” she said in a radio interview via 87.5 FM Davao City Disaster Radio on Friday, September 25.

However, Estuart said the figures of the Covid-19-infected workers are not disclosed to the public.

"She has information or data which we are not [privileged] to access so we cannot completely see and understand the rationale for the EO though," he said.

"We still have to look at the data [on] how many healthcare associated or work place associated infections have been documented though," he added.

Estuart, meanwhile, said hospitals can, by themselves, deal with the situation arising without the mayor's EO.

The EO has also received backlash from netizens on the comment section of the social media post on the EO on the City Government of Davao Facebook page.

Majority of the netizens said the RT-PCR requirement is an additional burden to the patient, since it is unclear if the patient will be shouldering the test.

Some netizens also pointed out that some might opt not to seek medical help due to the EO, which would result in more serious health problems.

The mayor, who will be on official leave from September 28 to October 5, has not issued any statement regarding the negative comments regarding the EO as of press time.


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