Stiff Penalty vs Medical Malpractices Sought
December 28, 2004
By BEN R. ROSARIO
QUEZON CITY — Determined to leave no room for negligence in medical practice, senior administration congressmen have urged Speaker Jose de Venecia to place on priority bills seeking to establish a Medical and Health Care Liability law that would impose stiff penalty on medical malpractice and illegal medical practice.
The appeal was aired by Reps. Rozzano Rufino B. Biazon (LP, Muntinlupa City); Danton Bueser (LP, Laguna) and Rodriguez Dadivas (Lakas, Capiz) in the wake of reports that medical malpractice has become rampant in many private and government hospitals in the country.
Only last Thursday, a young mother, identified as Victoria De Raco Duque, died after being comatose 14 days when a wrong blood type was transferred to her at the East Avenue Medical Center. She was admitted in the hospital last Dec. 17 to deliver a baby.
Bueser is studying the possibility of calling for a House investigation into the incident. He said bills protecting patients against illegal and negligent practice of medicine should be placed high in the list of priority measures to be acted upon by Congress.
Biazon and Dadivas are authors of House Bill No. 226 and 261, respectively, which pushes stiff penalties against medical malpractice and establishing rights and obligations of patients.
Cebu Rep. Antonio Yapha, chairman of the House Committee on Health, said he supports the passage of the two measures. He pointed out that a medical malpractice bill had already been approved by his committee during the 12th Congress but was never taken up on plenary due to time constraints.
Yapha, a doctor of medicine, said he has sent HB 226 and 261 to a subcommittee in his panel for further study.
However, committee vice chairman Rep. Jesus Reynaldo Aquino (Lakas, Pampanga) warned that approval of the so-called medical malpractice law may not be advisable at this time when the country is suffering from economic hardship.
"If such bill is approved, many doctors may be forced to take out professional insurance and pass on the cost to their patients. Even volunteer doctors might think twice giving free service to the poor,’’ Aquino, a surgeon turned lawmaker said.
The Pampanga lawmaker pointed out that there are enough laws that may protect patients against incompetent and negligent practice of medicine.
He added that the Philippine Medical Association and the Professional Regulations Commission are likewise duty-bound to weed out the medical profession of undesirables.
Reacting to Duque’s case, Aquino said that it was possible that the fatal error of transfusing the wrong type of blood to the victim may have been committed by the medical technologist or nurse.