We were put in The Medical City isolation room because we came from Dubai

  • Friday, September 04, 2015
  • By Ion Gonzaga
  • 0 Comments


We rushed to the emergency room to seek immediate aid only to be told that they need to move us to a quarantine facility because we came from Dubai.

The story...

My 3-year old daughter, Aya started vomiting a day before we fly to Manila. Whenever she takes food or milk, she throws up. She never had fever, no colds or cough, nothing. She's breathing properly. Just throwing up.

She did not vomit during our 9-hour flight though. She did not take any solid food anyway.

But she vomited again few hours after arriving in Manila (23rd August) - one in the car, and another in a restaurant at lunch. So we rushed to the emergency room of The Medical City in Ortigas for immediate aid - that's the closest 'good' hospital from where we were.

Her temperature was okay, 36°C. Blood pressure was normal too. One of the first questions the nurse asked was, "Galing po ba kayo'ng abroad in the last 30 days?" (Did you return from abroad in the last 30 days?).

Fact is we just arrived 3 hours ago.  She quickly asked us to wear face masks, and within 5 minutes, the nurse ushered us to a room outside the ER.

It's the isolation room. She said, "Sorry po ha kailangan po kasi nating gawin to, protocol po kasi... Sorry po talaga." (Sorry we have to do this as part of the protocol, really sorry.)

The door was locked from the outside. There's only a single bed and one monobloc chair so I was just standing all throughout.

I was clueless of what's NOT happening. We only see eyes peeking through the glass like we were infected monkeys. We waited for half hour before a team of doctors and nurses came in 'full battle gear' - lab wardrobe, head gears, face masks, gloves and goggles.

We felt a bit humiliated.

They asked few questions about Aya's condition, but did nothing at that point. They informed us that as per Department of Health's protocol for patients coming from abroad, we have to be moved to RITM quarantine facility in Alabang for a suspected case of MERS-Corona Virus - and we have to stay there for freaking 10 - 14 days. Wow!

I was appalled. Yes vomiting could be a symptom of MERS but only IF the patient also feels some respiratory ailments and fever. Aya has none of those.

I fumed about the quarantine. I was outraged because no thorough check-up was done yet they want to transfer us to another facility. I loudly objected and said that Aya's case was definitely not MERS and vomiting alone is not enough symptom to indicate so. They left the room to apparently consult with RITM officials and higher hospital doctors about my objection case.

A nurse came back with a glass of pedialite for Aya. My daughter didn't like the grapes flavor, she just tasted it. They did not give any alternative medication.

The medical team returned with a diagnosis of acute gastritis, and most likely not MERS. Definitely not! She did not even have fever in the last 6 months.

Since we insisted to not go to RITM, they recommended that we keep Aya isolated at home for 14 days. Okay.

I just said okay, matapos lang to. We're so tired and sleepless from the long flight, I just wanted to finish this unfortunate ordeal.

After staying 2.5 hours in the isolation room, we got our bill. There's a Php 1,880.00 for emergency and isolation room charges.

I talked to the billing section, the doctors and the head nurse on why we were charged for the isolation room. I understand the ER charges, but isolation room? It's not our fault that we came from Dubai that they had to lock us in an inconvenient room. It's not like a favor we asked you to give us. And the doctors already confirmed that Aya's case is not respiratory. It's beyond insulting disappointing.

I didn't win the argument after wasting half hour more.. They wanted me to talk to the customer service department. Knowing that they have very slow processes, and we're really tired and jet lagged, I just eventually paid the bill.

Why charge us with the way they handled things and in the lack of immediate action?

I understand that the government is doing its job to prevent the possible spread of MERS. If TMC really cares and supports the DOH protocol, just practice preventive measures, not added business.

Aya's real case

The next day, our friends helped us bring Aya to a pediatrician's clinic in Taytay. Upon checking the pulse and her facial response, she was diagnosed with dehydration and immediately recommended to be admitted to a nearby hospital. She was given IV fluids and after just 6 hours, she's okay.

She's back to her usual playful self in no time.

THAT was the quick action I expected to get from The Medical City, known as one of the best hospitals in the country.

If it's a DOH-protocol, why other clinics and hospitals don't do the same?  Why did we receive a better treatment from a smaller clinic? And why Taytay Doctors Hospital did not push us away to a quarantine?

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There's another story that happened to me at The Medical City and it has something to do about my address being Dubai, here.

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Photo from Google Image search.

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