Garcias sue 2 Chong Hua doctors

·4 min read

THE family of Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia filed criminal charges for medical negligence against two doctors on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020, over the death of Barili Mayor Marlon Garcia.

Dr. Elfleda A. Hernandez and Dr. Yvonne Bettina E. Montejo were named respondents in the complaint filed before the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office.

The announcement of the filing of charges was made by the family in a press conference Wednesday, Dec. 16. It was attended by family members led by patriarch, former House representative and governor Pablo Garcia.

The charge for medical negligence against Hernandez and Montejo was based on the findings of Dr. Ravi Durvasula, a licensed physician and professor of Medicine and Infectious Disease and chairman of the Department of Medicine of Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine in Chicago, USA.

No irregularities

Hernandez and Montejo have yet to give a statement, but the Chong Hua Hospital said Wednesday there were no irregularities or shortcomings “in the way we had cared for the late Garcia brothers, or for any of our Covid-19 patients.”

Durvasula’s findings showed the lack of observance of standard care and procedure, employment of highly questionable and unnecessary laboratory tests and treatments, and exaggerated or unsupported laboratory results which led to the death of the late mayor.

Aside from Durvasula’s affidavit, which he attested to before the City Prosecutor’s Office through Zoom, also submitted were supporting affidavits of Jima Tiano-Garcia, widow of Marlon Garcia, Governor Garcia, lawyer Winston Garcia, Farla Carolyn Garcia and Liloan Mayor Ma. Esperanza Christina Garcia-Frasco.

“The complaint is the first of the series of complaints that the family is planning to file against the two doctors and the hospital, not only for the death of the late Marlon F. Garcia but also for the death of the late Nelson F. Garcia,” the statement of the Garcia family released Wednesday said.

Waiting

The family is just awaiting the final report on the findings of their medical experts looking into the death of the late Nelson Garcia before they take action on his death.

Lawyer Joan Largo, counsel for the Garcia family, said one of the reasons why the family is filing the complaint is the conflicting statement of the hospital on the condition of the Garcia brothers and their medical records.

“Because if you will look at his laboratory results, this would have been the results of someone who is very critically ill or on the verge of dying. But as early as August 24, he was already feeling better, he was texting Mayor Christina that he already wanted to be discharged from the hospital... he said he was willing to sign any waiver,” Largo said.

The family is also planning to seek damages against Chong Hua Hospital for the deaths of brothers Marlon and Nelson Garcia, and file criminal charges for estafa through falsification of documents resulting from their fraudulent claims of reimbursement from the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) on the deaths of the Garcia brothers.

The Garcia family in a statement said the hospital made it appear that the two brothers were each attended to by no less than 15 physicians, but such was not supported in the medical and clinical records of both patients.

“The family believes that the proper standard of care and treatment of patients Marlon and Nelson Garcia were disregarded and/or overlooked in the selfish desire of the respondent physicians and the hospital to maximize profits for themselves. Expensive and unnecessary treatments, laboratory tests and medical procedures and protocols procedures were employed to justify their exorbitant charges,” the Garcia family statement said.

Chong Hua reaction

In reaction to the allegations, Chong Hua Hospital said that while it has yet to study the family’s statements: “Needless to say, however, we categorically deny any irregularities or shortcomings in the way we had cared for the late Garcia brothers, or for any of our Covid-19 patients.”

“Our treatment protocols are in compliance with internationally reviewed and accepted guidelines of the global medical community,” the hospital statement said.

The hospital said it will release an official statement after processing and examining the allegations.

The Garcias were billed P5.2 million for Marlon’s treatment and P3.8 million for Nelson’s treatment.

Lawyer Winston Garcia, chairman of the Cebu CFI Cooperative, earlier called on its members not to patronize the hospital because of the family’s bad experience.

The Garcia family said the filing of charges is just the first action they are taking against the hospital. (ANV / MVG)