Monday, June 23, 2008

Unsanitary Medical Conditions and Poor Neonatal Care in the Philippines

Update June 23, 2008

Apparently, the baby's head was sewn on before handing it over to the family in order to hide the fact that the infant was decapitated. The autopsy also showed that the baby was in fact still living up until birth, contrary to what the doctors claimed (that the baby was dead in the womb). Furthermore, the autopsy showed that the baby's head was forcefully pulled on and thus literally ripped off.

Here is the video feature (in Tagalog) from ABS-CBN's investigative show XXX: Exklusibong, Explosibong, Exposé.

Update June 22, 2008:

Mhar has reported to me that the story regarding the incident that occurred in San Marcelino Hospital, Zambales has been featured by ABS-CBN's XXX: Exklusibong, Explosibong, Exposé.

According to the television report, the nurse admitted that she did pull the baby's head. The doctors claimed that the baby was already dead, because prior to delivery, using a doppler fetal heart beat monitor, there was no heart beat detected.

But based on the mother's account, she felt that her baby was still moving inside her. In fact, she said her baby was "still kicking." These sensations led her to disagree with the doctors' conclusion that the baby was already dead.

But the autopsy did not exactly support the doctors' verdict, as the autopsy did not show expected amounts of postmortem clotted blood.

And it was also confirmed that when the mother pleaded that she could no longer continue with normal delivery, the doctors really did ask the mother if she could pay the 35,000 PHP required for a cesarean section.

The doctors said:

In Tagalog - "Bakit kaya mo ba ung 35,000?"
English Translation: "Why, can you handle [to pay] the 35,000 pesos?"

The mother replied:

In Tagalog - "Pera lang po un; Kayang-kaya namin gawan ng paraan. Ang mahalaga ay yung buhay ng bata."
English Translation: "That's only money; we will find a way [to pay it]. What is important is the life of [my] child."

Reported June 16, 2008:

A suspicious mishap recently occurred during a certain childbirth at the hospital in San Marcelino, Zambales. Mhar reported to me this tragic incident, which may soon be televised on ABS-CBN's investigative show XXX: Exklusibong, Explosibong, Exposé.

(Warning: Graphic Images)

Care for newborns in the Philippines has reached a low point recently with the rise of neonatal mortality. A prime example of this would be the high number of infant deaths at the Ospital ng Makati (Hospital of Makati) due to sepsis.

"The neo-natal intensive care unit, nursery and delivery areas of the Ospital ng Makati (OsMak) will be partially closed as sanitation measures are now underway following several reports of infant deaths in the facility.

Forty-five cases of neonatal sepsis, a blood infection contracted by infants less than 90 days old, were reported during the month. The hospital had 273 deliveries in May.

Dr. Eric Tayag of the Department of Health’s National Epidemiology Center said the 25 deaths out of 45 cases was a “bit high” that even the hospital was alarmed about the number (Ospital ng Makati partially closed for cleanup, 06/07/2008, Inquirer)."

This is a real shame as sanitation for hospitals should be top priority and a required precaution. Otherwise, what would be the point of going if the chances are just as great or even greater of dying in the hospital?

This really doesn't surprise me considering the poor conditions that I witnessed in many of the hospitals and clinics in the Philippines. The James Gordon Memorial Hospital as well as the hospital in San Marcelino appeared to be deteriorating and quite unsanitary, which is disappointing as these are two major hospitals in the province of Zambales and probably has the highest rate for the number of incoming patients.

I remember when a mother suddenly gave birth to a child right in front of me in the hospital of San Marcelino. The newborn just squirted out from her, shooting across the dirty floor because there was no one to attend to her. And the site of the birth was just a couple of feet from the pungent, open bathroom wreaking of the smell of urine and feces as it was overflowing with such wastes. With such conditions, of which are not uncommon for a hospital in the Philippines, natural birth in the home seems like a much safer and wiser alternative.

And the James Gordon Memorial Hospital wasn't much of an improvement over the hospital in San Marcelino. Although better-equipped, the facility itself was unkempt and deteriorating, with grimy walls and a staff that I hardly ever saw wear gloves or face masks, especially when handling premature infants and other newborns.

The poor medical care continues with this incident that Mhar reported. He caught the story when a relative of the victim came over to the internet cafe where Mhar works and asked to have the pictures below printed. Apparently, the story is that the mother mentioned to the doctor and nurses that she could no longer handle to continue with vaginal birth and that she would rather have a cesarean. The doctor then asked her if she could pay the 35,000 PHP required for a cesarean section. Unable to pay, they continued via vaginal delivery.

But all did not turn out well. Although the family doesn't know how it happened, the result was the decapitation of the baby. Thus, an investigation is underway to determine what really transpired during delivery, with perhaps the participation of ABS-CBN's investigative show XXX: Exklusibong, Explosibong, Exposé. Below are the pictures from the autopsy. The head was sewn back on for the funeral.


Willy Acuña said...


Tragic indeed!

Kuya Willy

Noi Ramirez said...

The same thing is happening at the Ospital ng Makati.

Anonymous said...

hindi kapanipaniwala ito. masyadong mababa ang tingin mo sa medical team practitioners sa phils.

Anonymous said...

This is too much. There was one incident in Baguio too...


Anonymous said...

You're making it sound like it doesn't happen here in the U.S., that's not fair to my fellow Filipinos.
These types of practices happen everywhere.

Grass said...

I agree.. My mom gave birth to my youngest brother 4 years ago in one hospital in Pasig.. a few months later, the a number of newborns died in the same hospital coz of sepsis.

By the way, this case in Zambales is horrible.. :( I will never forget the pictures of that poor baby... :(


Anonymous said...

Don't take it all out on the Filipino doctors people. They're not the only ones that make up a hospital. It would seem that they've got the power and responsibility, but at the end of the day, money matters. The owners and the businessmen who run the hospital call the shots. What can the doctor do if they're not even supplied with ample gloves and alcohol?

All hospitals including those in the US have outbreaks in the neonatal area. Its a big deal but its not uncommon. Every hospital has its own story about this. these things happen, especially if a mother in labor comes in with an infection and no prenatal check up...

Well, doctors are people too. Like in any other profession, we can never weed out [crap]. But there are more good, nay great Filipino doctors. If i get sick, i'd choose them over any other doctor.

peace out

Anonymous said...

i don't think the article focuses on doctors... it focuses on the "Unsanitary Medical Conditions and Poor Neonatal Care in the Philippines," which i think is a pretty damn accurate statement... the Philippines is a poor and dirty country, and it will stay that way until the people do something about it... and about Filipino doctors, they are just the same as other doctors from different countries, they are all taught the same things... except maybe for ripping a baby's head off, i'm not sure where those Filipino doctors were taught to do that...

Anonymous said...

kua dave nag file na rin mo ng reklamo ung family sa DOJ ndi na ako makakaupdate sa result..kung mafefeature uli pede pa hehe..
kahapon po malalaman ung result (monday)
kaso indi na ako makakaupdate hehe
cenxa na


Anonymous said...

TO: Anonymous said... 3:57 AM
"hindi kapanipaniwala ito. masyadong mababa ang tingin mo sa medical team practitioners sa phils."

from jake: Bakit? hindi ka ba nanonood ng TV? or hindi mo alam ang ibig sabihin ng medical malpractice? or sadyang nagtatanga-tangahan ka lang sa mga nakita mong pictures? bago ka mag salita dyan eh mag research ka muna ha? para kang hindi ka pilipino wala kang awa sa biktima.

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