Police doctor dies after inhaling toxic fumes in Pasig City quarantine facility

The Philippine National Police (PNP) today said that it is investigating the case of a police doctor who allegedly died after inhaling toxic fumes during a decontamination procedure at a quarantine facility in Pasig City.

Captain Casey Gutierrez, 31, a police doctor of the PNP who was assigned to the Philippine Sports Arena died on May 30, five days after he inhaled the said fumes. His wife Sheila Distor earlier said that he did not die of the coronavirus and that he was not a COVID-19 patient. Pastor added that her husband died “out of negligence and incompetence” of the facility.

PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac confirmed Gutierrez’s death in an interview with ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo, and said that the police are coordinating with the Health Department and will be launching an independent investigation.

Banac also called the frontliner’s death an “accident.”

“He inhaled the toxic chemicals, and it might be a case of mislabeling, or chemicals being put in the wrong [containers], which led to this accident,” the spokesman said in English and Filipino.

Besides Gutierrez, Banac said two more health workers were able to inhale the toxic fumes but “were given first aid, and they are now recovering.”

The spokesman did not identify the names of the victims or the deadly chemical that made them sick.

“Right now they are still being given time to recover…It’s possible that the disinfectant is a pure chemical solution that may be mislabeled or misplaced, and at that moment it was sprayed to disinfect [the facility] which is why we’re asking help from the Department of Health for an independent investigation to get the facts, and find justice [for the victims],” he said.

“The PNP expresses our condolences to the family [of Gutierrez],” Banac added.

Gutierrez is survived by his wife and three kids.

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