Negligence of Philippine Hospitals Towards the Poor

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Republic Act No. 8344 is an act penalizing the refusal of hospitals and medical clinics to administer appropriate initial medical treatment in emergency and serious cases. Under this act, it is illegal for hospitals and medical clinics to demand deposits or advanced payments as a prerequisite for the treatment of patients. In short, this act prohibits the denial of care to indigent or uninsured patients based on their inability to pay hospital fees. 

Despite the implementation of this act, underprivileged people are still being denied access to medical care, even in life-threatening situations. 

The statistics from the Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC) indicates that per PRC Board of Medicine August 2002 record, there are 585 docketed cases with 176 malpractice or gross negligence cases. Moreover, these statistics does not involve the cases of death from medical negligence happening in private doctor's offices, clinics and other facilities.

In a statement by Former Health Secretary Enrique Ona, "Every Filipino, regardless of status in life, should have equal access to health care… the law states that all cases should be treated and admitted, if necessary, by a hospital.”

In an emergency situation, the first duty of the hospital staff is to ascertain the immediate situation of the patient. No person seeking medical care should be turned away by any health facility, especially in an emergency. To add, doctors are subject to laws as well as medical rules and regulations. To refuse treatment to impoverished and underprivileged patients is both unlawful and unethical. 

We urge you to sign this petition to stop the medical malpractice of private hospitals that deny underprivileged patients who need urgent medical attention.



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