Opinion

Makati Medical Center Is Right to Be Pissed at Koko Pimentel

The senator endangered the lives of doctors, nurses, mothers, and babies.
IMAGE WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/ PIXABAY/ PEAKPX
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In an official announcement that was released Wednesday night (March 25), Makati Medical Center (MMC) perfectly worded the national rage and disappointment directed at Koko Pimentel for knowingly endangering an entire hospital, going against the very purpose of his job—to protect the Filipino people.

“We denounce this irresponsible and reckless action of the senator,” said MMC. “His admonition for everyone to observe social distancing, enhanced community quarantine measures, washing of hands, and personal hygiene are nothing but empty rhetoric, because he himself violated all those.”

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For breaking quarantine and entering the hospital to bring his wife to the delivery room, MMC called his actions “irresponsible” and “reckless.” That's a polite way to put it. 

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That man knew, he knew, he could possibly have COVID-19, and broke his home quarantine despite this knowledge. The senator endangered not just the doctors, nurses, mothers, and babies in the delivery room, but all the sick patients in Makati Medical Center—where hundreds go every day to get the best healthcare they can. There's no getting around it: it was a selfish act.

As I write this, I sit inside another hospital next to the bedside of my ailing 60-year-old father who’s battling a different disease. And if I learned that a PUI who should be under quarantine walked into this hospital not by means of the ER, there are no words for the fear I’d feel for my father and the hundreds of sick patients here without the immune systems to fight COVID-19—or the rage that someone would have the audacity to do this.

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While Pimentel stated that he never stepped foot inside the delivery room, MMC says otherwise, stating that he breached the “strict infection and containment protocols of the Makati Medical Center Delivery Room Complex.” And in this instance, and every instance henceforth, I will always listen to the words of a frontliner instead of a politician.

Whichever way you spin this, there is no denying who is at fault here: Pimentel broke home quarantine when he knew he might have COVID-19—when the very government he works for has been telling us, nonstop, to not break quarantine and to stay at home. The fact that he tested positive later only adds insult to injury.

“By his actions, he contributed no solution. In fact, he created another problem—for Makati Medical Center, the very institution which embraced his wife for obstetric care,” said MMC.

And now the hospital and its many doctors and nurses are paying the heavy price for the recklessness of this man. While the entire delivery room complex has already been decontaminated and disinfected, who knows how many more nurses and doctors have to be quarantined after being exposed to a positive COVID-19 patient. Just yesterday, MMC announced that the hospital has reached full capacity, with a number of its COVID-19 patients being their own frontline doctors and nurses. Now, that number might go up after this reckless development.

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We can only pray that we don’t lose any more healthcare workers to this pandemic, because God knows, we need more doctors than politicians.

Just one day before COVID-19 positive Pimentel entered MMC, the hospital released this reminder:

According to Republic Act 11332, citizens are required to be truthful about their health conditions and possible exposure or else face a fine of no less than P20,000 or imprisonment for not less than one month. Whether MMC will pursue legal action is still up in the air, although I’m sure no one will fault them for doing so—because we must hold our leaders accountable and to a higher standard. These are the people who are supposed to set an example, and their actions hold weight, particularly in times of crisis. After the rage, the disappointment sets in—the knowledge that this is the state of our leaders.

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“We plead and urge everyone to do his share in quelling the spread of this infection—especially our nation’s duly elected leaders,” said MMC.

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About The Author
Anri Ichimura
Staff Writer, Esquire Philippines
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