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Medical & Nursing Malpractice

DAVAO Two medical doctors stand accused of recklessness and negligence of duty in a case filed by the husband of a patient they operated on in March 2003. Manuel Te of A-9 Kalamansig, Barangay Pelo in Polomolok, South Cotabato alleged his wife suffered even more and was brought to "the brink of death" because of the operations. Charged before the Municipal Trial Court in Cities are James Soriano and Silvestre Gonzales, both of the Davao Doctors Hospital (DDH). DDH president Dr. Herminio Villano, however, said Friday that the Philippine Society of Neuro-Surgeons conducted an investigation on the case and found nothing wrong with the operations conducted on the patient by the two respondents. "Dr. Soriano and Dr. Gonzales did their best but it was hard to operate because the patients brain was swollen. It was a case of a ruptured aneurysm," Villano said. "Although hindi na-relieve ang pasyente, hindi naman nag-worsen ang condition ng pasyente," he added. (Although the operation did not bring relief to the patient, her condition also did not worsen.) He insists the two doctors did their best, and attributed the worsening of the patients condition to her illness. In his complaint, Te claimed he took his wife Jane to DDH for consultation on February 18 after she complained of severe headache that later diagnosed as "saccular aneurysm." After the diagnosis, Te decided to have his wife airlifted to Manila for treatment but the two respondents allegedly told him there was no need to do so because the illness was a minor one and they could easily conduct the surgery. Tes wife underwent two operations: the first on February 18, 2002 and the other on March 7, 2003. But Te claimed that after the operations, his wife became comatose and her condition worsened. Te claimed he was billed by DDH a total of P850,000 and he incurred another P500,000 for medicines bought outside the hospital. He said he had his wife transferred to the San Pedro Hospital for further treatment where he was billed P3.6 million plus an additional P520,000 for medicines. He claimed he had to hire the services of three nurses on an eight-hour shift to take care of his wife. He allegedly paid each nurse P500 everyday for eight months, or a total of P1,500 a day as wages and P360,000 for the eight months his wife was in the care of the nurses. Te claimed he spent a total of P5,830,000 on hospital bills and medicines.

Horror Story at the Geriatic Floor: St. Luke's Medical Center

From: Marlene Chance I am so sorry to hear about your loss. My mother was only one of the many victims of the negligence, incompetence, and malpractice of St. Luke's Hospital, many of it's doctors, and every single nurse who was assigned to my mother, no exception! As a graduate of nursing from the University of the Philippines, I had the great misfortune of witnessing first hand, the incredible lack of compassion, basic nursing care and professionalism that nursing stands for, as well as the serious lack of basic intelligence from all the hospital's nurses that the St. Lukes employs and tolerates. The nursing duties and functions that were so simple and basic, and that should have all been mastered while in nursing school prior to graduation and licensure, all turned into major disasters and complications that could have ALL been prevented. These are only a few of the negligent and incompetent acts: (1) bed sores on my mother's buttocks on the third day of admission, not having been turned, moved or changed, (she was actually stuck to the soiled linen from old urine and feces) until I arrived from the United States to change her myself...there was absolutely no reason for decubitus ulcers on a third day, or any day for that matter, if basic nursing care is carried out. She was in a private room on the Geriatric floor where nobody changed patient's beddings for weeks at a time, or until forced to by the family of the patient. (2) fecal impaction which resulted in acute rectal bleeding and anemia, and subsequent and multiple blood transfusions, plus a stat colonoscopy that required anesthesia of course, in an already compromised patient. I begged for the attending (Sotomayor) to check her bowels DAILY, because she had not had a bowel movement in several days, and only on the 10th day, did I finally get an order in the chart for an INTERN (another incompetent future doctor at the time) to disimpact my mother, which resulted in bleeding and hemorrhage. (3) misuse of the appropriate antibiotics, having had a urine culture done, the attending ordered Amoxil which was not sensitive to the bacteria in her urine, and a few days later, she became septic and gradually deteriorated from untreated Urinary Tract Infection. This is a disease that we treat in the outpatient settings in the United States, it is basic, easy to treat, if standard care and protocols are followed. (4) As a Diabetic, drawing blood out of the lower extremity is an absolute CONTRAINDICATION, but the phlebotomists continued to take blood out of her feet when nobody was looking, or intentionally at dawn, when my mother's attendant was sleeping, and before I arrived for a visit. I posted signs all over the wall and bed, and informed the nurses and laboratory supervisors never to allow blood drawing from any other part of her body aside from her arm, but nobody heeded my instructions. My mother died of a Massive Pulmonary Embolus after 45 days of admission at St. Lukes. This clot was a direct result of drawing blood from her lower extremities, simply because the medical technologists were too incompetent and too lazy to find any other vein elsewhere. (5) Physical Therapist burned my mother's left arm and shoulder while applying the ultrasonic heat, and not bothering to test before using on a patient. I found the burns myself, they were never reported. My mother sustained first and second degree burns that again, were dismissed as "normal and usual effects of being a patient at St. Lukes." That is not tolerated in the United States, would have required an incident report, which was never completed, and would have easily been grounds for negligent action and malpractice. (6) Tube Feedings. Not a single RN on the floor had the basic knowledge or skill as to the proper use and feeding process of my mother's PEG tube. They practically shoved the container of food as fast as they could, causing abdominal discomfort, unless I stood next to her bed to watch and supervise. Nobody on the floor even knew how to use the feeding tube machine on that Geriatric Floor. We had the supervisor, head nurse and director of nursing in my mother's room trying to figure out how to use this very simple machine that they should have been trained to use properly. Needless to say, because of the delay in feedings, my mother's nutritional status was compromised even more, resulting also in occlusion of her PEG tube, which of course required a replacement. The skills or lack of, in these nurses were pathetic, and unacceptable. (7) This was rather interesting. At 9 o'clock every morning, a clerk from the business office would knock at my mother's door to hand me the hospital bill, and ask how much I was paying that particular day! It did not matter how much of the expense these incompetent employees were costing me for their negligent actions, all that mattered is that I made a deposit towards the multi-million peso bill that multiplied every hour! And if I did not go down to make a payment, they would call to remind me until I did. At the ER, the hospital refused to treat my mother until my sister made a P10,000 deposit in the middle of the night, when the banks are closed! And on discharge, after Dr. Abraham-Lim's professional discount (the only decent doctor my mother had), we paid a 2 Million Peso hospital bill that did not include the pharmacy and mutiple professional fees. I can go on and on with the numerous disasters, these are only a few that stick out in my mind and that I will never forget! There were clearly several instances where St. Lukes failed to meet the standard of care which directly caused injury and subsequent death to my mother. I made every effort to litigate, but unfortunately, there were no malpractice attorneys available in the country, and nobody was willing to take the case in the Philippines. I tried to publish the detailed scenario of the many terrible mistakes committed that eventually led to my mother's death, but the lawyers of this big corporate institution paid Manila Times and other newspaper publications not to publish my article. I wrote to the Secretary of Health, but got no response. I wrote and sent letters by certified mail, to the President and CEO of St. Lukes and to the Director of Nursing and the Nursing Department, and again, did not get any response.

As a Filipina myself, I must say it is rather unfortunate that Filipinos and others who reside in the Philippines, have to fall victim to the poor and negligent, but very, very expensive medical care at St. Luke's Hospital every day. There must be a way to put a stop to this negligent care! Best of luck with your case! Marlene Cataylo Chance, ARNP, MSN, PhD, EJD Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner Primary Care Physicians of Pembroke Pines 2488 University Drive Pembroke Pines, Florida 33324 954-983-9191