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Baybay hospital chief answers allegations of improper waste disposal, poor service and incorrect diagnosis, etc

BAYBAY CITY – Dr. Lourdes Baquesio, chief of the Western Leyte Provincial Hospital (WLPH) here was grilled by the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) on matters pertaining to alleged worsening medical services at the hospital.
However, she debunked what she called “provocative and baseless rumors” circulating over a Facebook group page called “Kapihan sa Baybay” administered by a personality identified with the opposition camp of the Cari administration here.
Dr. Baquesio though admitted they have had lapses also, but emphasized Baybayanons should also look into the positive side and appreciate what they are doing to improve health care service.
Baquesio, who was interrogated by the city councilors during their regular session on July 9, 2012 here, underscored three major problems that the hospital is experiencing. These are proper waste disposal, lack of facilities, and lack of medical practitioners.
On waste disposal, chief points
finger at City GSO
The lady doctor related that they were visited by the Environmental Management Board (EMB) for a site inspection on Monday, July 1. “The team from EMB arrived early morning, around 6:30, and they saw the pile of garbage outside the hospital’s premises,” Baquesio recalled. When the EMB came back by afternoon, she continued, the garbage was still there.
With that, Baquesio urged the General Services Office (GSO) to religiously collect their general trash every day saying it was supposed to be collected every day but they are doing it only once a week, she said.
GSO retorts hospital not
segregating their waste
Engr. Jose Pepito Fernandez, OIC of the GSO, however retorted that his office seldom collects WLPH’s garbage because it is not properly segregated. He said there are hospital wastes included that his men avoid like blood bags, IV needles, and the like. “My men are complaining that there were certain times when they were wounded by needles, syringes, and other sharp items,” Fernandez stressed.
“There was even a time that the residents of Villa Imelda [where the city’s dumpsite is located] complained because there were human placentas in the garbage. I am also worried because there are scavengers who frequent our dumpsite and we are throwing sharp objects there,” he added.
Yet, according to Baquesio, they have a separate vault for the sharp objects (breakables and needles) and plungers. Maybe, she underscored, the nurses just drop the syringe in the trash bin immediately after use that’s why there are needles in the general waste.
Aside from that, she said they are also separating the wastes from the laboratory and radiology department. What goes to the public drainage are just the general wastes, she added.
Likewise, she emphasized that they have a waste disposal committee and personnel. But again, she admitted that sometimes these persons have to be prodded hard first before performing their tasks responsibly.
To come up with the middle ground on the problem, Fernandez promised to collect WLPH’s trash every day if Baquesio promises too to segregate their wastes properly. “We will only collect the biodegradable and the non-biodegradable,” Fernandez remarked.
Hospital needs ICU, more doctors
Another hospital dilemma Baquesio voiced out before the council was their lack of facilities and medical personnel. This dilemma hinders them to apply for tertiary hospital status, she noted. For now, WLPH is a secondary hospital but Baquesio said that the Department of Health (DOH) has urged them to apply as a tertiary hospital because of its strategic location.
Asked what specific facility they urgently need to pass the tertiary classification, Baquesio said they needed an Intensive Care Unit (ICU). According to her, having an ICU has been their long-time dream but due to financial and manpower constraints, remains a dream.
City councilor Ernesto Butawan, who presided over the session in lieu of Vice-mayor Michael Cari, asked how much it would cost to build an ICU. Baquesio gave a rough estimate of about P 3-million as they have to buy complete set of apparatus, equipment, and other things.
With that too, they also have to hire additional nurses and doctors. Since it is an ICU, Baquesio said the ratio between patients and medical person must be 1:1. Thus, they have to hire at least 15 more doctors specializing in internal medicine.
Adding to the list of facilities they need are a blood bank and ultrasound machine. For the ultrasound machine, the lady chief-of-hospital estimated that they need about P 1-million to have it plus they need to hire a sonologist.
In terms of the number of MDs, WLPH has only 14 and not all have adequate training in internal medicine. Baquesio noted that the doctor – patient ratio in the hospital currently is 1:20.
Furthermore, they need an in-house radiologist, cardiologist, orthopedic surgeon, neurologist, among others so that medical cases needing the services of these specialists need not be referred to other hospitals anymore.
FB bloggers are rumor-mongers
On the other hand, Baquesio also answered several allegations posted at the Kapihan sa Baybay. According to her, they were groundless tittle-tattles that have to be corrected because not only are they belittling the hospital but also besmirching their names.
“It is like the hospital was bombarded with so much criticism,” she said. “What was worse was that we, the personnel, became also the subject of the attack.”
The first contention she debunked was on the unavailability of emergency medicines and even cotton, etc. According to her, they do not run out of supplies like cotton, alcohol, emergency medicines and other needs for emergency cases. To make sure they have adequate supply, these items are purchased from the hospital’s income so as not to pass through tedious government procurement.
She also answered allegations that patients have to pay high for the use of ambulance. Baquesio said they really charge the patients who use the ambulance but these are properly receipted. From Baybay City to Tacloban, they charge P 1,500.00, she disclosed.
Nonetheless, if the patient could not afford the rate, they are only requested to buy gasoline.
Baquesio also denied claims that aside from the charge for ambulance use, the patient has to pay for the driver and escort at Php 500.00 each. She said it was nowhere in their rules.
The last issue she answered was on incorrect diagnosis. City councilor Rex Retana said that his relative was referred by WLPH to a hospital in Ormoc City and there, the doctor’s diagnosis did not match that of the WLPH. Baquesio said that their medical team is competent enough to diagnose their patients. Cases of inaccurate diagnosis are rare.
Councilor Butawan then advised the chief of hospital that WLPH doctors should exert more effort to communicate with the patients’ families to avoid unnecessary complaints.
With these revelations from the chief-of-hospital, the SP pledged to do their best to help it. Though it is managed by the Province, city councilor Butawan said that it is still their responsibility, after all the hospital largely serves Baybayanons.
To recall, WLPH has been the butt of criticisms for many years already. By Nino Antonio Villalino



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