Hospital denies forcing poor patient to pay for ambulance


THE management of Sara District Hospital (SDH) in Iloilo denied complaints they obliged the family of an indigent or poor patient to pay for the use of the ambulance.

Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr. earlier said he received a complaint that a 5-year-old male suffering from hematuria or blood in urine was deprived of the ambulance for failure to pay the P1,000 fee.

The family opted to ride a Ceres bus to bring the child to another hospital in Iloilo City.

Defensor reiterated his call that the hospital vehicle is free for poor patients.

In an incident report submitted by SDH, the patient was identified as Leomar Ariola of Brgy. Dugman, San Dionisio and was admitted at Sara District Hospital at 7:30 a.m. on July 17, 2017.

Ariola complained of on and off fever, cough, loss of appetite and facial puffiness.

Ma. Delia Alpasan, Nurse VI of SDH, said initial findings include upper respiratory tract infection, urinary tract infection and acute glomerulonephritis.

Glomerulonephritis is acute inflammation of the kidney, typically caused by immune response.

Routine laboratory examination was done and he was also provided with medications and intravenous fluid.

On July 18, Dr. Ma. Anna Lissa Zeller appraised the mother and the aunt of the patient to consult a nephrologist because of the microscopic hematuria found in the urine examination.

A nephrologist is a medical doctor who specializes in kidney care.

“The patient was not literally urinating gross blood as they claim. Acute glomerulonephritis was explained to both the mother and the aunt,” Alpasan said.

They then requested to go home and was discharged at 10:45 p.m.

Dr. Bienvenido Tupas reminded them to consult a nephrologist.

Alpasan said Ariola’s mother inquired from their staff nurse Britanny Pradel about the ambulance fee.

“She answered P1,800 but she further told the mother that they can approach the social worker or management for an affordable arrangement as we have always done,” Alpasan said.

But she said the family has not approached the social worker or the management.

Alpasan said that the following day, a radio station aired the family’s complaint that they were obliged to pay the ambulance fee.

“It is inaccurate and unfair. Had they only expressed their intention to transfer, then they could have availed of our free ambulance service as determined by our social worker and this unfortunate situation would have been avoided,” she said.

Alpasan stressed that the hospital actively “supports the governor’s mandate that our facility is for the poor.”

The incident report was approved by hospital chief Dr. Jeremiah Obañana.

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