By LITO RULONA
COUNCILOR Suzette Daba pointed to two hospitals in the city as she complained to a city council committee about the cash deposits being required before patients are admitted to hospitals.
Daba identified the hospitals as the Cagayan de Oro Medical Center, and the Polymedic Medical Plaza.
Daba named the hospitals during the Friday meeting of the city council’s committee on health, sanitation and health insurance that has started looking into the implementation of Republic Act 8344 or the anti-hospital deposit law here.
The law penalizes hospitals and clinics that refuse or don’t administer appropriate initial medical treatment and support to patients in emergency situations even as it outlaws the downpayment requirement.
Daba said her experience with the two hospitals confirmed that the hospital downpayment policy is still prevalent in the city despite the law against it.
The councilor just lost her father, former mayor Pablo Magtajas, who died of cardiac arrest after hours of waiting for an available intensive care unit room. The ex-mayor was first rushed to the Polymedic Plaza in Kauswagan around noontime, and then he was moved to the Cagayan de Oro Medical Center later in the afternoon. He died in an ICU room there in the evening.
Daba said she was asked to deposit P50 thousand before her 77-year old father was admitted to the ICU of the Cagayan de Oro Medical Center.
Early this year, Magtajas had also been confined to the Polymedic Plaza where he had been placed under intensive care.
“That is their usual practice, according to other patients, who witnessed the incident. Og kami na gyud mismo ang nabiktima. Even before the case of my father, there were some people I know who claimed nga wala gihapon sila dawata kung walay deposit. This is already a common practice by some or almost all the hospitals,” Daba said.
In January when her father was confined at the Polymedic Plaza, she said, a nurse regularly called her up to inform her that the cash deposit she made was already spent, and that she needed to give more money.
Daba said she asked the nurse what the hospital would do in case the family of a patient failed to give more money, and she was told that they would simply stop giving the medicines.