DOH to lead probe into police doctor’s death due to ‘toxic disinfectant’ – PNP

Rappler.com
DOH to lead probe into police doctor’s death due to ‘toxic disinfectant’ – PNP
Two other cops were also exposed to the hazardous chemicals, says the Philippine National Police

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) said on Sunday, June 7, that the Department of Health (DOH) will lead an independent probe into the accidental exposure of a team of police medical personnel to a toxic disinfectant.

The incident led to the death of a police doctor in a COVID-19 quarantine facility.

In a statement, the PNP said it sought the DOH’s assistance to look into the May 24 incident at the Philippine Sports Arena Temporary Treatment and Monitoring Facility (PSA-TTMF), where Police Captain Casey Gutierrez, a doctor, got sprayed with disinfectant after attending to a patient.

Gutierrez died on May 31 at the Lung Center of the Philippines due to inhalation injuries.

“The PNP mourns the death of Dr Casey Gutierrez and I have ordered a full investigation to determine the circumstances surrounding his death,” said PNP chief Police General Archie Gamboa.

Two other cops – Police Staff Sergeant Steve Rae Salamanca and Police Corporal Runie Toledo – were also exposed to the hazardous chemicals and were treated at the PNP General Hospital. Salamanca and Toledo are members of the PNP Medical Reserve Force.

“All efforts must be exerted to ensure that no similar incident happens in the future,” said Gamboa, who also emphasized that the welfare and safety of police on the front lines of the government’s coronavirus response “is a priority in all PNP operations in this time of health crisis.”

According to the PNP, during a routine decontamination procedure on the evening of May 24, “the team accidentally sprayed concentrated decontamination solution (sodium hypochlorite) that caused irritation and difficulty in breathing.” Other cops rushed to the victims to administer first aid, added the PNP.

PNP Administrative Support to COVID-19 Task Force (ASCOTF) head Police Lieutenant General Camilo Cascolan said the agencies involved in the administration of the PSA-TTMF will take part in the investigation.

Earlier, the PNP-ASCOTF noted that the chemical disinfectant used in another PNP-managed quarantine facility at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) is hypoallergenic and biodegradable. The task force added that the PSA-TTMF and the PICC have different service providers.

Cascolan reminded police healthcare personnel and frontline medical units to follow safety procedures in the workplace and be aware of chemical hazards. – with a report from Rambo Talabong/Rappler.com

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