A MOTHER filed a complaint for criminal negligence against a medical doctor before the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas and the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).

Laura Cañete, 34, a mother of two, said her fecal discharges come out from an abdominal wound after she had a Caesarian section (C-section).

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She accused Dr. Hie Lorenil Tangga-an of the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) of being negligent, allegedly cutting the intestine leading to her anal cavity while doing the Caesarian operation.

Tangga-an denied this and said what happened to Cañete was an “unforeseen complication.”

However, both exchanged allegations of blackmail.

Cañete, a former masseuse, claimed she had to quit her job because of the discomfort.

She had her C-section at VSMMC last May 2, 2009 with Tangga-an as her attending physician.

“However, just a day after what was thought to be a successful caesarian operation, I was plagued with convulsive chills and high-grade fever. Worst, my fecal matter or waste was coming out from my abdominal wound,” Cañete's affidavit-complaint read.

Tangga-an, in her counter-affidavit, said while Cañete had fever and chills on May 3, it was only on May 5 that her feces came out of her abdominal wound.

A procedure, called exploratory laparotomy, was conducted on Cañete to clean her abdominal cavity.

It was then when they allegedly found the intestine leading to her anal cavity was cut.

A plastic bag, called a colostomy bag, was then attached to the right side of her abdominal area where the feces is stored, said Cañete.

“In subjecting me to a colostomy procedure, one thing is certain, that Dr. Tangga-an committed an act short of the utmost degree of diligence...Why would respondent cut my intestine, had she been utterly diligent in operating me?

Worthy to mention also is the fact that VSMMC did not release my medical papers with no reason at all,” she alleged.

Tangga-ans said during the laparotomy, it was discovered that there was perforation on Cañete's big intestine. A colostomy had to be done because the perforation will not heal if fecal matter passes through it as it will be infected.

Tangga-an also said the colostomy bag is on the left side of Cañete's abdomen.

Cañete, however, claimed Tangga-an warned her against reporting the matter to anybody, saying she will not receive P200 to P300 per month from the doctor.

Blackmail

But Tangga-an alleged it was Cañete who demanded money from her so she would not report the incident to the authorities and the media.

“It was Cañete who blackmailed me, threatened me with exposure to the media and to my superiors in the hospital and extorted money and property from me. (She) initially demanded small amounts of money from me for her medications, food and allowance,” read Tangga-an's counter-affidavit.

Cañete, interviewed over radio dySS Thursday night, said she is willing to withdraw the complaints if Tanga-an will agree to conduct a colostomy and give her enough to sustain her and her family until she recovers and finds a job.

“Wa pa ko kasulti kung pila didto sa Ombudsman. Gi-offeran ko niya iya nga operahan ko’g usab unya mohatag siya’g P8,000. Ako na lang siya giingnan nga ipadayon ang kaso.

Pero willing ko makig-settle basta magkasinabot lang mi (She offered to conduct another operation and give me P8,000. I told her I’ll pursue the case but I’m willing to settle if we agree on the terms),” Cañete said.

Cañete admitted her lawyer John Michael Cagulada got mad when he found out she has been asking money from Tanga-an without informing him.

The PRC 7 scheduled the pre-trial conference between Cañete and Tangga-an on Aug. 25.

In the conference, the commission will try to arrive at an amicable settlement between

the two parties.

Atty. Mildred Antepuesto, who will preside over the conference, said the parties will set the terms and conditions of the settlement.

However, if the parties are not willing to settle the case, they will proceed to the hearing proper, where issues will be defined and evidences will be presented, said PRC 7 Director Dan Malayang.

Lawyer

Cañete, in a complaint submitted to PRC, accused Tangga-an of gross negligence and ignorance or incompetence in the practice of her profession, resulting in an injury to the patient.

But she lost her lawyer last Thursday after Cagulada claimed Cañete kept some information from him.

Hence, the Public Attorney’s Office will now be representing Cañete.

In an interview, Cagulada said he no longer has a duty and obligation to Cañete, but said he stood by his stance that there was negligence on the part of Tangga-an.

“I no longer want to pursue the case in behalf of Cañete because she was keeping some information to herself,” he said.

Cañete had undergone a C-section and another pregnancy-related operation before Tangga-an did the same procedure on her.

Tangga-an’s lawyer Ernest Jose Montecillo, in an interview, said the previous operations Cañete was subjected to had caused adhesions and the thinning of her intestines, which Tangga-an tried to remedy when she carried out a C-section on Cañete.

In her counter-affidavit, Tangga-an denied Cañete’s allegation that she cut the latter’s intestine, saying she only disbanded the intestines that were stuck to each other.

Montecillo said they have also documented Cañete’s acts of extortion on the doctor.

He said Cañete had extorted about P150,000 from his client, but the doctor refused to file a complaint against Cañete for fear of media attention.

“We have documented all her text messages asking the doctor for money,” he said.

Montecillo said the ombudsman had given the parties a chance to amicably settle the issue, prompting Cañete’s lawyer to propose that Tangga-an shoulder the expenses of the corrective operation on Cañete and give her P8,000 monthly for a year.

But when Montecillo showed Cagulada the proof of Cañete’s acts of extortion, Cagulada started to think twice if he will pursue his client’s case.

Montecillo said they are still amenable to an amicable settlement with Cañete. (JGA/RSB with GAC)