I recently received a disturbing email from a new reader back in the State concerning some outrageous medical costs (to the tune of over 1.5 million pesos at this point) that a relative had incurred while a patient at a “For-Profit Hospital” in Global City (Fort Bonifacio.) Let’s call this reader “Jane,” as she has given me permission to publish her email (though I have altered her location and name in order for her to remain anonymous.) Here’s her message:
I Googled “How do Philippine hospitals charge you?’ and came upon your website. I am from the Philippines myself, grew up in Davao, Mindoro, Bacolod and Manila before moving here to the burbs of Boston. The Google search was a result of our frustration for the insensitive treatment of patients and their families by For-Profit Hospitals particularly a prominent one in Global City. One of my cousins had a virally-triggered acute heart failure around July of this year from which she still has been recovering when she suffered a cardiac arrest the 23rd of October from which she had been in a coma for a week.
The thing is my nephew had been told that his mom was “doing better than when she came to the hospital” and was in Level 6 Coma which according to the RLAS Scale is “Level VI – Confused-Appropriate, i.e. the patient shows goal-directed behavior, but is dependent on external input for direction. He/she follows simple directions and shows carryover for tasks that have been relearned, such as self-care activities. Responses may be incorrect due to memory problems, but they are appropriate to the situation.”
We are a family of nurses all around the US so when one of our cousins who lived near the hospital came to visit, the feedback was “she is unresponsive” so I don’t understand the rationale for the Level 6 when the patient was comatose, intubated and tubes from here till kingdom come out of every orifice. My question was “Did they check for brain activity because if there’s none then it’s time to let go.” We feel strongly that her immediate family was given false information or false hope to lengthen the hospital stay..rack up bills in the Cardiac ICU.. prolong the procession as we say in Filipino..with the the same end result anyway but the hospital laughing it’s way to the bank to the tune of 7 figures. Which reminds me of the time my Dad had a stroke..asleep and resting..while one of the consultants/attendings tried to pay a ‘visit’ so he could add to his professional fee..whiskey..tango..hotel!? And this was more than 20 years ago..and nothing’s changed except that the professional ethics has continuously deteriorated for some.
And to me it’s just disgustingly amazing they are allowed to get away with it..and I’m sure on to the next victim whom they’ll squeeze every peso out of till their last dying breath.
Anyway, your thoughts on this are appreciated since you got me interested in your blogs about this and that..two hours later..from my initial stumble upon your website.
I sent “Jane” a reply stating that I was not all surprised that the hospital appeared to be racking up the bill. I have had a few experiences with hospitals in the Philippines and medical costs as I’ve dealt with a kidney stone and various other conditions since moving here over two years ago. This practice is indeed an outrage. I asked her if it would be alright to reprint her email on my website and see what kind of response we get. Here’s her reply:
So there you are. My heart certainly goes out to Jane and her family. Have any of you reading this had similar experiences concerning the practice of some hospitals in the Philippines adding to the medical costs of a patient’s bill? This clearly is an unethical and shameful practice. If so, would you be so kind to share those experiences with the rest of our readership. Thanks in advance.