Duterte orders probe on hospitals refusing COVID-19 patients

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 16) — President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday ordered the Department of Health to conduct an investigation on hospitals reportedly refusing to accept COVID-19 patients.

Duterte said that he received reports that nine hospitals have been denying admission to those infected with the viral disease.

“We have a crisis and it’s killing people,” the President said in his televised address. “Therefore we are calling—not after the COVID crisis, but I’d be asking today—the DOH to start the investigation.”

Duterte said he is only “following the rules” in ordering the probe.

Earlier, the health department, in its memorandum, stated that all public and private hospitals are not allowed to refuse patients who need medical assistance.

Duterte also previously issued a warning to hospitals, saying closing its doors to patients suffering from coronavirus or any other ailment will warrant criminal charges.

The Chief Executive said hospital officials must devise ways to accommodate and protect the people. Otherwise, he threatened ordering the shutdown of the facilities violating the health department's guidelines.

“Ospital kayo, you are the sanctuary of the sick," Duterte said. "You do not choose the ailment of the patient you are accepting."

“Kung di mo kaya maging ospital, ipapasara na lang kita,” he added.

With the influx of patients trying to receive medical treatment, some hospitals have cited full or overcapacity of their facilities.

To this concern, Duterte suggested building makeshift rooms to house more patients.

“Build a tent there somewhere, doon muna ilagay," he said. "You can build a makeshift thing, tent or what. You can do the investigation there at a distance."

The President said that hospitals are responsible for “finding ways to deal with the problem.”

Medical facilities in the country have been placed under severe strain, as the number of coronavirus infections and deaths continue to rise. Health officials have recorded a total of 5,660 cases as of April 16. Of this number, 435 patients have recovered, while 362 have succumbed to the viral disease.