Indian in Philippines on hunger strike over daughter’s death

Singapore–An Indian national in the Philippines has been on hunger strike since Aug 30 alleging negligence on the part of a hospital that led to his four-year-old daughter’s death

Ivan Fernandes, 51, has refused to eat anything until Chong Hua Hospital in the Philippines’ Cebu City refunds the expenses he incurred on the treatment of his daughter who died in 2011, the Sun Star reported Tuesday. The amount is around 1.5 million Philippine pesos (over $33,700).

Fernandes said that he has taken this path because he has spent all his money on his daughter’s treatment and now can’t afford to sue the hospital.

However, he revealed that the hospital paid him 100,000 Philippine pesos (around $2,250) last year.

He alleged that doctors at the hospital did not take adequate care of his daughter who was admitted in the intensive care unit (ICU) of the hospital Dec 4, 2011, and that was the cause of her death.

According to the newspaper report, Fernandes had also written to the Philippines Health Secretary Enrique Ona last year explaining the negligence on the part of the hospital administration.

He said that on one occasion his daughter’s bed collapsed when a medical technologist sat on it to take blood samples even when there was a sign that said nobody should sit or lie on the bed other than the patient.

“As if my daughter was just a piece of commodity or this instance was a mere service disruption,” the report quoted Fernandes as saying.

“We had to wait for over an hour as the department concerned could not provide another bed.”

On June 6 this year, the health department’s Bureau of Health Facilities and Services issued a warning to the hospital in connection with Fernandes’s complaints.

“Repetition of any similar incident shall be dealt with pursuant to existing regulations,” the warning stated.

“Chong Hua Hospital is hereby reminded to re-orient the staff of the hospital on their existing policies and procedures and the supervisors should continuously monitor its implementation.”

In September last year, the hospital’s chief operating officer Helen Po had apologised to a health department director regarding the incident but said the patient’s condition was already deteriorating when she was brought to the hospital.

“The patient had multiple organ dysfunction syndrome secondary to septic shock leading to the patient’s demise on the 14th hospital day,” Po was quoted as saying.—IANS