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Though not tested for COVID-19, a PUI who died recently is now considered positive of the coronavirus and the DOH-CHD MIMAROPA is now conducting contact tracing and other measures aimed at protecting the people.
Health Education and Promotion Officer Geraldine Perez once again reiterated that the authorities already quarantined the health workers of Ospital Ng Palawan (ONP) and is now conducting a contact tracing of all people who came in contact with the 61-year old patient who died last April 3.
“This is to ensure ‘yung safety ng community po,” Perez said, following the third PUI death case in the Province of Palawan.
“Though the patient was not tested for COVID-19 as far as the response is concerned, [but] we are treating this patient as COVID-19 case, para po ma-implement natin ‘yung mga preventive measures,” Perez explained, relaying the statement of Regional Director Mario Baquilod.
As the City Health Office (CHO) earlier said, the patient was just reclassified as PUI because he was diagnosed with cardio-related condition and pneumonia and had a severe acute respiratory illness and had no travel history outside Palawan and likewise no exposure to a COVID-19 positive patient.
“The ONP urged the patient to undergo testing and isolation, however, nag-sign ang patient [ng HAMA] para umuwi. The patient was taken home by the COVID-19 Vehicle from the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office,” Perez explained and added that two days after, the patient died, as the statement released earlier by the CHO said.
And when asked on what was the explanation of the City Health Office (CHO) for the late reporting of their PUI, the DOH said that the CHO never explained it to them.
“As to CHO, ‘yun din po ang hindi pa rin kami maisagot regarding that bakit hindi agad na-report. Pero na-call na po namin ang attention nila,” Perez said.
She added that what they are now prioritizing is to ensure that the people exposed to the patient are assessed properly for proper management, “since we are mitigating further spread of the disease.”
“As per RESU po, wala naman reported na nag-manifest ng signs and symptoms sa mga na-expose po,” Perez assured the public.
But contrary to their previous statement that religion is not an exemption and that “LGUs shall utilize any appropriate resources to ensure implementation of urgent and critical measures to contain the spread of the disease, including the non-cooperation of possible patients” based on RA 11332, the Health Education and Promotion Officer clarified that the facility and the CHO do not have any legal implications.
She added that the Health Department already reminded them to report any incident “on time” and issued guidelines and protocols to all concerned for their strict compliance.
“And kung may hindi po na-implement ang ating mga protocol, ‘yun na po ang titingnan natin.”
And although they previously cited the provision of “Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health events of Public Health Concern Act of 2019” or the RA 11332 in terms of non-compliance of the patients, now, they also noted the existence of Magna Carta of Patient’s Right and Obligations.
“Though nasa pandemic tayo, we are still hinged sa Magna Carta of Patient’s Right and Obligations of 2008. Dito po nakapaloob ‘yung mga rights ng isang patient, including sa right to refuse sa medical treatment (in any form),” HEPO Perez said.
Perez added that if the concerned health facility explained everything to a patient and he is still insisting not to do it, then that is the time that a patient will sign a waiver.
“But they are obliged po sa responsibility nila na ma-protect ang community, that is why dito po tayo nag-focus sa quarantine ng mga na-expose sa patient including the health workers po. Kung ito po ang nilabag nila, mananagot po sila,” she further said.
Some provisions of the Magna Carta for Patients, as shared by the DOH, are rights to refuse medical treatment and diagnosis, right to leave against medical service, right to religious belief and assistance, right to confidentialit, among others.