PGH accepts DOH's request to be coronavirus referral hospital

MANILA, Philippines – The University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (PGH) has accepted Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III's request to be one of the country's referral hospitals for coronavirus patients.

This means that "centralized" facilities at PGH will be dedicated to treating coronavirus patients who would be referred to the hospital.

PGH is just one of the referral hospitals being eyed by the Department of Health. The other hospitals include the Lung Center of the Philippines and Dr Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital. (READ: Medical industry leaders to DOH: Designate dedicated coronavirus hospitals now)

In a press briefing on Monday afternoon, March 23, PGH Director Gerardo Legaspi clarified that PGH will still accept other patients. According to him, the emergency rooms for regular patients are different from those for coronavirus patients. 

"We will treat cancer as an urgent case. Hindi siya elective so itutuloy po ang serbisyo dito (This is not elective so the service here continues). The Cancer Institute is still open. Marami po sa pasyente natin na ang kanilang pondo ay nanggagaling sa PGH at hindi po sila basta-basta makakalipat (We have a lot of patients whose funds are coming from the PGH, and they cannot just transfer)," Legaspi said. 

Legaspi added that admission to PGH's referral center will be "initially limited to mild persons under investigation (PUIs) who are at risk for deterioration (above 60 years of age and/or with comorbidities) and moderate to critical PUIs."

"Eventually, when testing for COVID-19 has been made readily available, only confirmed COVID-19 patients will be sent to the referral centers," Legaspi said.

Meanwhile, those who are tagged as "mild PUIs" will be referred to their local health units and will be under quarantine measures. 

PGH, according to its website, is considered the biggest modern government tertiary hospital in the Philippines, servicing more than 600,000 patients every year. It remains as the only national referral center for tertiary care.

Legaspi said that representatives from DOH-retained hospitals and major private hospitals in Metro Manila, as well as those from different DOH offices were tasked to coordinate the management of the coronavirus outbreak in the country. 

"The stakeholders agreed that one of the solutions to this complex problem was to organize the hospitals in a manner that will rationalize the clinical approach and the utilization of resources in order to equip and enable the designated referral centers for a potentially protracted battle," Legaspi said in a statement on Monday.

As of this posting, the Philippines has 462 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, with 33 deaths and 18 recoveries.

The global death toll has reached 15,189, with 5,476 of the fatalities in Italy and 3,270 in China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau). The number of cases worldwide has risen to 341,300, with 81,093 cases in China and 59,138 cases in Italy. The virus has spread to 174 countries. – with a report from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com

Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol is a multimedia reporter for Rappler, covering health, education, and social welfare. He first joined Rappler as a social media producer in 2016.

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