Blood transfusion delays cause deaths in Quezon hospital – COA
MANILA, Philippines – State auditors discovered that a number of patients in Quezon's provincial hospital died without receiving the blood transfusions they needed because they failed to immediately pay laboratory fees.
“Confined patients in Quezon Medical Center who need to undergo blood transfusion were required to pay the blood screening fee…before they received the required medical treatment…resulting in delay [and] exposing the patients to unnecessary risks,” the Commission on Audit (COA) said in its 2013 report.
The audit report, released on Monday, February 16, showed that the Quezon Medical Center would not perform blood screening on confined patients unless they first paid anywhere between P1,500 and P4,500. The blood screening is necessary before a transfusion is made.
Documents indicated that a number of patients died before they received blood transfusions.
“Review of several documents pertaining to patient’s claims for refunds for blood screening…disclosed that there were patients who were not able to use the purchased bags of blood due to death of said patients,” the report said.
The hospital's no-fees-no-tests policy violates Republic Act 8344, COA said. The law penalizes hospitals and medical clinics that do not administer appropriate initial medical treatments in emergency or serious cases.
Hospital personnel found guilty under the law may be imprisoned for up to two years and 4 months and fined up to P100,000 or both.
If it's proven that it is the hospital's policy to refuse to provide treatment when a patient cannot pay a deposit upfront, the penalty increases. The officer of the hospital who is responsible for the policy can be jailed for 4 to 6 years or be fined P100,000 to P500,000 or both.
“We recommended that the Provincial Governor require the Chief of (the) Hospital to prohibit the collection of advance payment for blood transfusion of in-house patients who need to undergo such medical treatment,” the audit report said.
State auditors also questioned the Quezon provincial hospital over “drugs and medicines” worth P12.45 million and “medical, dental and laboratory supplies” worth P8.79 million supposedly purchased between June and December 2012 but remain unaccounted for.
COA said the provincial government has taken note of the findings and given assurances that it had instructed the hospital management to stop its no-fees-no-tests policy. – Rappler.com
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