PAMPANGA -- Families of patients of Diosdado P. Macapagal Memorial Hospital (DPMMH) expressed "disappointment" over the issue of mismanagement of the present leadership.

Leonida Alviz, a resident of Dila-dila in Sta. Rita town, alleged that Dr. Benjamin Arboleda, chief of DPMMH, "notoriously mismanaged" the hospital due to poor delivery of health services, provision and maintenance of basic hospital equipment.

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Alviz also alleged that Arboleda has not acted upon several complaints lodged in its administrative office.

But in a phone interview, Arboleda told Sun.Star Pampanga that the hospital is not mismanaged at all and measures are being undertaken to address the concerns of the patients and their families.

A reliable source who refused to be identified said Arboleda ordered the closure of the hospital's main gate, including two other gates near the emergency room (ER) and the outpatient department (OPD), to solve the traffic problem in the area.

The source claimed that this move does not benefit the patients, but rather compromises patients' welfare in some serious and emergency cases, because they were instead asked to use a gate far from the ER and OPD.

Arboleda said a tricycle terminal there is blocking the frontage of the hospital, which causes the inconvenience, and the closure of the gates is just temporary until traffic in the area is resolved.

He said he has referred the issue and the concerns to Governor Lilia Pineda.

Laboratory equipment

Sun.Star Pampanga learned that early in 2009, DPMMH procured an x-ray machine that has never been used until now.

The supplier of the equipment allegedly refused to install the x-ray machine in the laboratory because its construction did not follow minimum requirements and standards.

The source also disclosed that construction works at DPMMH is allegedly being made without a master plan and based on the "whims" alone of the previous and current chiefs of the hospital.

The DPMMH was constructed based on a "district" hospital set-up only, despite the millions of funds spent for its construction, the source added.

The personnel alleged that Arboleda has directly coordinated with the contractor of the hospital construction and with the Department of Health (DOH).

With the absence of a master plan, the source said that many doubted the integrity and strength of the hospital building.

The source also disclosed that the hospital has no drainage canal resulting in perennial flooding during rainy season. Majority of the air-conditioning units are also misplaced along the hospital lobby, triggering high temperature and resulting to more inconvenience to patients, personnel, and visitors.

When the personnel asked Arboleda about the construction, he allegedly told them that he has no obligation explaining the details of the construction.

However, Arboleda told Sun.Star Pampanga that he had nothing to do with the construction master plan, and is hands-off on the issue because it is a DOH-mandated project.

He also clarified that it was not him who approved the alleged sub-standard x-ray laboratory.

It was also revealed that several personnel and even doctors are being reassigned in other departments without prior notice and consultation.

On this concern, Arboleda refused to make comments.

It can be recalled that DPMMH has been dragged into controversy in 2009 when it bought seven fax machines, several photocopying machines, 17 personal computers, and laptops rather than using the funds for the purchase of basic hospital equipment to serve the patients better. (Herbert P. Mapiles of Sun.Star Pampanga/Sunnex)