Compassionate Medical Professionals Wanted

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Here is another case of stupid toilet humor that occured in Silliman University Medical Center Foundation, Inc. (SUMCFI).

olga_uy.jpg

A grieving mother who has infertility problems lost her second baby by [tag]miscarriage[/tag] last May 9 and lodged a complaint that she was subjected to indignities by a hospital staff who commented that the dead fetus which was to be her second child was to be urinated upon (because the hospital ran out of formalin and or distilled water.)

Read complete news story From the Negros Chronicle in here and here.

Olga Lucia Uy emailed her story to me 3 days ago. Maia, her baby was only 5 to 6 weeks old at the time of her death.

I went to the (Silliman University) medical center that same morning with my little Maia for a biopsy. I handed the little cup to a medical technician, who said he would put formalin into it. I said to him, THANK YOU. Then, he handed the cup to another person, and in front of me, jokingly told him, ““O, ihi-i ni”. (Here, you urinate in this.”)

I was crushed. I was devastated. I was in pain and he trampled over my grief with his carefree callousness and unthinking disregard for my feelings. Mora ko ug samad nga gadugo. Ginudnuran ko niya ug asin. Gibu-buan ug asido.

How inconsiderate of the feelings for the bereaved mother! Even if Maia was only 5-6 weeks old, she was a human being worthy of respect. The medtech thinks that her baby was only ““specimen”, a mass of dead ““tissue”. It never occurred to him that ““specimen” was a manifestation of God’s awesome power. Naturally, Olga did not take it sitting down. She delivered a speech at the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals (BCBP) (read speech) in Dumaguete City and even wrote a letter to Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo. (Read letter.)

And that is why I am here now to tell you about my advocacy. I have issued a challenge to the leadership of Silliman University Medical Center, to acknowledge, even only among themselves, that a problem exists among their employees.

Their employees need to be reminded that the patients and their companions who come to them are HUMAN BEINGS. We are not simply ““cases” for them to attend to. We have feelings too. When we come to the hospitals, it is because we NEED to be there. We are troubled, anxious, scared, in pain. We have money troubles too. Hospitalization, doctors and medicine = LOTS OF MONEY. And that’s something that not too many of us have in abundance.

A lot of sympathizers aired their rage over the incident and reactions from friends and the public were likewise printed in the Negros Chronicle’s May 27 issue . So far, the action taken by the hospital was only to discipline the erring medtech and to write a carefully-worded letter of apology to Olga through her lawyer. But as to her advocacy for a Values Formation Program, there has been no action nor any word from them. Her next move now is to write directly to the Board of Trustees.

* * *

As I read her email, I thought of the time I was at the emergency room as my son was dying. The nurses and doctors didn’t dare go near me or even touch me. They threw scared glances at me as if I would combust into thin air. To think I was not even hysterical at that time. I was in shock so how could I even cry? At that moment, I needed a touch from anyone or just someone to hold on to. I held on to the warm hand of the resort’s waitress, the person who tried to resuscitate my son. She couldn’t stay long. My family didn’t arrive yet so I was ALONE. I needed to feel warmth. It was just recently that I asked Butch if anyone comforted him at the beach resort while I was at the ER. He said that only a Greek visitor held his hand. A high school classmate is the resort’s doctor but she never visited me at the ER. Touch comforts. Emotions are overwhelming as one confronts the death of a loved one , especially if it’s due to an accident. One is lucky if there are family members around to comfort. Hospital professionals need to be trained for care, compassion and courtesy to the sick, the dying, the dead and the bereaved as well.

I hope other hospitals carry on the advocacy for Values Formation Program that Olga Lucia Uy started. This advocacy should not end in Silliman University Medical Center Foundation, Inc.

Noemi Lardizabal-Dado (1352 Posts)

You may contact Noemi (noemidado @ gmail.com) for speaking and consultancy services in the following areas: Parenting in the Digital Age (includes pro-active parenting on cyber-bullying and bullying) ; Social Business ; Reinventing One’s Life; and social media engagement. Our parenting workshop is called "Prep to Prime (P2P): Parenting in the Digital Age (An Un­Workshop)" P2P Un­Workshops are conducted by two golden women in their prime, Noemi and Jane, who have a century’s worth of experience between them. They are both accomplished professionals who chose to become homemakers. This 180­degree turn also put them on a different life course which includes blogging, social media engagement and citizen advocacy. They call their un­workshops Prep to Prime or P2P, for short, to emphasize the breadth of their parenting experience. They tackle different aspects and issues of parenting ­­ from managing pregnancies, prepping for the school years of children, dealing with househelp, managing the household budget, to maximizing one’s prime life and staying healthy through the senior years.


About Noemi Lardizabal-Dado

You may contact Noemi (noemidado @ gmail.com) for speaking and consultancy services in the following areas: Parenting in the Digital Age (includes pro-active parenting on cyber-bullying and bullying) ; Social Business ; Reinventing One’s Life; and social media engagement. Our parenting workshop is called "Prep to Prime (P2P): Parenting in the Digital Age (An Un­Workshop)" P2P Un­Workshops are conducted by two golden women in their prime, Noemi and Jane, who have a century’s worth of experience between them. They are both accomplished professionals who chose to become homemakers. This 180­degree turn also put them on a different life course which includes blogging, social media engagement and citizen advocacy. They call their un­workshops Prep to Prime or P2P, for short, to emphasize the breadth of their parenting experience. They tackle different aspects and issues of parenting ­­ from managing pregnancies, prepping for the school years of children, dealing with househelp, managing the household budget, to maximizing one’s prime life and staying healthy through the senior years.

  • lemon

    people like that hospital staff have no right to work in a medical institution. when my baby Faith had to have a check up in a hospital in pasig city last year, the lazy physician on duty at the emergency room just mechanically pushed an ice cream stick in her mouth to check her tonsils. my baby was so terrified and until now she can’t get over her fear of medical check ups. i had to restrain myself otherwise i would have lashed out at that incompetent doctor

  • lemon: Although there are some caring medical professionals, they are not the majority. They really need to be more compassionate. I think the bigger hospitals in Manila are working towards training them.

  • Lisa

    I remember when we were still at the hospital a few days after giving birth to my son, he cried so hard and held his breath that his lips turned brown. We were so worried that we called the nurse. The nurse merely said “Pano mo ba kasi pinapa-dodo yung baby mo? Di mo ata hinahawakan ng maayos. Hayaan mo lang yan, hihinga rin yan.” I wonder how she would react if she had a baby that didn’t breathe for more than 10 seconds. Grrr…

  • Olga

    Noemi, Lemon and Lisa: I am happy to read your reactions. It is sad, but I think it is a fact that for most, if not all, hospital work is just work, a means to earn a living, and even a ticket for juicier jobs abroad. I heard it is even worse in government hospitals, where doctors and nurses lord it over all those helpless people, who are too poor, too feeble and too overwhelmed by the authority and position that they represent, to fight back and exert their dignity as HUMAN BEINGS worthy of respect.

  • Lisa: That’s so rude . Assuming you held your baby the wrong way, she should have been more caring and taught you instead of berating you in that manner.

    Olga: True, it’s worse in the government hospitals especially if they are charity patients.

  • lemon

    hi. i even knew of a report that in a certain govt hospital in pasig city, the mothers about to give birth who at times shout in pain are boxed or slapped by the medical attendants. dios mio, what kind of people are these? are they even human beings?the report was made by a student nurse who was so shocked at what she saw while in her OJT.when it was taken up in a newspaper, hala, the govt hospital “banned” future OJT students. result=the school refused to admit the student nurse on the next schoolyear.dios mio.

  • Arlene

    Reading Olga’s story painfully reminded me of my distressing experience with some medical professionals in a government hospital.

    My precious baby Daniel underwent an open-heart surgery when he was barely four days old to correct a major arterial switch. After the surgery, he was hooked up on myriad of tubes. As the tubes had to be kept well-sanitized, the nurses had to do routine suctioning. The task had to be delicately handled because the tubes were deeply connected to my baby’s tiny lungs and tummy, and any faulty move, no matter how slight, could trigger an internal bleeding.

    Thus, I was gravely mortified when I saw this nurse callously doing the suctioning, as if she was not doing it on a tender infant. Unlike the other nurses who did the task with such gentleness and great care, this one seemed to be so in a hurry to finish the suctioning; she was doing the sensitive task perfunctorily. She was oblivious that my baby was visibly hurting. My baby was crying (his cry would break your heart because it was without sound as he was on ventilator) and vigorously flailing his arms and yet the nurse appeared not to notice it. It was only after seeing that I was around that she tried to do the task gently. When I confronted her, she just kept her silence, pretending not to hear what I was saying. I wanted so much to lash out at her but I had to restrain myself because I know that the well being of my baby was in their hands. But I made sure that the matter was known and reported.

    Perhaps to her, my precious baby was just one of her many patients, but for me, a mother, he was my life. I cried when he cried, I felt his pain, his discomfort, and the suffering he was going through right though my entire being.

    The night after that incident, my baby had his first bout of internal bleeding.

    Then there was this resident doctor, a fellow, who barely a few minutes after my baby expired had the temerity to approach me and hubby to remind us of the bills that we have to settle, telling us that she is sorry and all but she was instructed by the consultant to tell us of the bills we need to settle.. etc. etc. By God, we were still in the neonatal ICU, holding and hugging our precious baby for the first time, trying hard to absorb our tragic loss, consoling each other, and there she was talking about bills to pay. And to think we are not even a charity case.

    To this day, I seeth with fury whenever I remember those incidents. I wish that these medical professionals would be more compassionate in dealing with their patients, more sympathetic instead of being so remote and impersonal.

  • Lemon: I think I read that in the papers. How terrible!

    Arlene: As you wrote your experience, I could feel the pain of Daniel and you as well. Even when my babies were just being injected, I cried with them. what more with your Daniel? How terrible that nurse is. It’s like the baby is a nuisance to her. I wonder if she has a child of her own.

  • lemon

    this horrible attitude of medical practitioners is also evident even in some private hospitals. besides, what does it tell us when the staff in govt hospitals are so callous and cruel whereas staff in some private hospitals are gentler? that even kindness has a price? ugh.

  • Olga

    Dear Arlene,

    I am so sorry for your loss. It must have been terribly painful for you, especially because you had to watch how delicate Daniel was after his surgery and to be handled that way?!! I am certain that nurse has no child of her own. In fact, I think she has no life at all, nobody loves her thus, she does not know how to give love to others, even to a helpless baby.

    My child was never born, but reading your story also brought back memories of those days when I had spotting and how hard I prayed for God to let my baby live. It must have been like that for you too. To feel so helpless… wanting so much to do something to save our baby… but what? All we could then do was pray. I also understand perfectly how mortified you and your husband must have felt when you were approached about the fees … I felt that way too when my precious dead baby was made the object of toilet humor.

    My friend’s granddaughter recently had dengue fever. When she got better, a nurse came to remove her IV. My friend told me that the nurse just proceeded to tear off the brown tape, as if she was peeling banana skin, completely oblivious to the little girl’s cries of pain. The lola could see tiny hairs coming off.

    I’d like to share something with you but I don’t have your email add. I forwarded a copy to NOEMI…the one with the premature baby. Maybe she can forward it to you? Or if you like, please email me [email protected] so I can forward a copy to you directly. I hope it wont bring back painful memories. It is a beautiful story and I hope somehow, it will bring you the same comfort it brought me. -olga-

  • Lemon: I hope word gets around to these medical practicioners.

    Olga: I will share it to Arlene.

  • Olga

    Noemi: Thanks for sharing that story with Arlene.

    I was happy you mentioned the medical professionals’ lack of training in handling grief during the interview. YOu were right, Cheche Lazaro was a great host. By the way, can we get Fallen Cradle from National Bookstore? I am sure we cannot find it in Dumaguete but if I should get the chance to visit Cebu, I will certainly drop by National to get a copy.

    I saw my OB-Gyne yesterday. She’s a formidable lady and she agrees with my observations regarding the lack of training of the employees of Silliman Medical Center. In her own way, she has helped a lot in promoting my cause. For instance, when I told her about how an intern came to the ER to see a patient (I was there at that time for another reason), she wanted to know which patient she was supposed to attend to. Instead of taking the chart and maybe asking, which bed is “Patient Uy” or “Patient Dado”, for instance, she just asked a nurse, while pointing her thumb to a certain bed, “mao ni?” It’s like saying in tagalog, “ito ba yon?” I remembered thinking at that time, how ill-mannered of her. My Abby (at 5 years then) has better manners, and to think that she is a doctor!!! Bastos siya. My OB told me she met with the doctor in charge of the interns right away and demanded he had another talk with his charges. And you know what? I was at the ultrasound room yesterday afternoon. An intern came, peeped at our cubicle and said to the sonologist, “excuse me, I’m looking for Patient ______.” Hey! That’s a great improvement! I would like to believe that the change for the better is part of the greater reason and meaning that I have been searching for.

    I also told her about one incident when my uncle laid dead at the ER after a vehicular accident and while we milled around in tears, the nurses and other personnel at the ER carried on with their life as usual, laughing, loud chika, etc. I asked my doctor, are these employees not supposed to observed proper decorum in those situations? Like for example, when a mass is going on in church, everybody knows we’re not supposed to converse loudly with our companions, right? or take calls from our phones? or even text? I asked if their employees were also briefed along these lines, especially along the giving of respect to the sensitivies of others. Dra. Go told me she took it up with the head nurse. I hope the latter is taking it seriously. As I said, Dra. Go is formidable. I expect the head nurse wont hear the end of it from this lady.

    I also discovered that the employees of Silliman University Medical Center do not have an Employee Code of conduct or Ethics. There is a code of discipline, but proper and uniform set of guidelines as to how they should deal with their patients? That’s presently non-existent. Briefings and orientations of new employees are left to the dept head, and obviously, their guidance along proper conduct is basically left to the discretion and subjective views of each dept head.

    I am now working on that line. gather what materials I could, and submit suggestions to the board of Trustees, including suggest to them that patients should be given a handbook advising them of their rights so that the patients themselves can act as some sort of “police” for the employees.

    I have a material from the US embassy, from their veterans outpatient dept. It is about Patients’ Rights and Responsibilities. I’m going to look into DOH and maybe, WHO. maybe there is some universal declaration on that, like the one on Children’s Rights.

    PLEASE, IF THERE IS SOMEBODY OUT THERE WHO HAS THAT KIND OF MATERIAL, PLEASE!!! I WOULD APPRECIATE IT VERY MUCH IF YOU COULD SHARE THEM WITH ME. My email add is [email protected] or maybe you can course them through NOEMI if she wont mind? IT WILL REALLY HELP ME BIG TIME! Thanks in advance. God bless you all. -olga-

  • Olga:

    “Patients’ rights

    Formalized in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes “the inherent dignity” and the “equal and unalienable rights of all members of the human family”. And it is on the basis of this concept of the person, and the fundamental dignity and equality of all human beings, that the notion of patient rights was developed. In other words, what is owed to the patient as a human being, by physicians and by the state, took shape in large part thanks to this understanding of the basic rights of the person.”

    Just click for more
    http://www.who.int/genomics/public/patientrights/en/

  • Olga

    Noemi: It is exactly one month today since I lost my Maia. It is comforting to know I have you and the Compassionate Friends who can understand me. I received a mail from Rhoda and she told me about how she also lost her baby a month before his due date. I am happy she agrees with me that a mother starts loving her baby the moment she learns of that baby growing in her womb.

    To all of you out there… thank you.

  • Olga: I am sorry for your loss but glad you found us . Rhoda is one of our contacts to help out newly bereaved. Good she wrote you back.

  • This is horrible. Some people are so cruel it makes me sick.