Two lawmakers on Saturday took the cudgels up for a psychiatric patient who has been detained at a hospital in Ilocos Sur, and was made to work to cover for her hospital bills.
Party-list Reps. Michael Defensor of Anakalusugan and Ferdinand Gaite of Bayan Muna also welcomed the Regional Trial Court Branch 24 of Cabugao, Ilocos Sur’s issuance of arrest warrant against doctors Jemaima Tan-Yee and Johann Ten-Yee of the Tan-Yee Therapeutic Home Care Psychiatric and Rehabilitation Center who is facing charges of “serious illegal detention.”
The warrant was issued by Presiding Judge Homer Jay D. Ragonian on Oct. 25, 2019. Serious illegal detention is a non-bailable offense.
Doctors JemaimaTan-Yee and Johann Tan-Yee were alleged to have detained patient Aivon A. Guillermo since Jan. 9, 2013 when she failed to pay for her hospital bill amounting to P294,168.00.
Court records showed that complainant Aivon Guillermo was admitted at Tan-Yee’s hospital on March 15, 2012 with an initial diagnosis of “Brief Psychotic Disorder.”
Defensor deplored the detention of Guillermo. “The detention of patient Avion Guillermo was a cruel disregard of the patients human rights,” Defensor said.
The court records also noted that Aivon was made to work at the hospital with a P2,500 per month salary. Of the amount P2,000 would be deducted from Aivon’s salary while the P500 would be given to Aivon for her medicines.
Defensor said “even the salary agreed to, to pay for her hospital bill was way below the acceptable salary of even a house help.”
“It is unbelievable that the doctors who I presume are well-off being owners of the ward and who took a Hippocratic oath to maintain specific ethical standards and to serve humanity would behave in such a manner. Our country must continue to push for a genuine universal health care so that the poor may not suffer from such crime for non-payment of health bills,” Defensor added.
Gaite shared Defensor’s view.
“Involuntary servitude is illegal under our Constitution, well as the non discharge of patients for non-payment of hospital bills,” Gaite said, adding that the doctors could have demand a promissory note from the patient as provided under the Anti-Hospital Detention Law.
Gaite also welcomed the filing of appropriate charges against the doctors.
Based on the court records, it was In September 2012 when the respondent-doctors had informed complainant Nora Guillermo, the mother of the patient, that her daughter can be discharged “because her condition has improved” on the condition that she pay the hospital bill amounting to P294,168.00.
The complainant Nora was only able to raise P46,000.00 which was paid to the respondent doctors.
“Despite the partial payment, Aivon was not released from the Rehabilitation Center,” a court resolution stated.
Despite repeated pleas from the mother of the patient the respondent doctors did not discharge Aivon.
Aivon was made to work at the hospital with a P2,500 per month salary. Of the amount P2,000 would be deducted from Aivon’s salary while the P500 would be given to Aivon for her medicines.
The complainant-mother relented to the proposal and found out later that Aivon was only given P100 worth of medicines for the first three months of her work and nothing for the succeeding months until he was finally released on March 29, 2019 shortly after the release of resolution by the Provincial Prosecutor of Ilocos Sur indicting the respondents to a case of serious illegal detention.
A resolution issued by the provincial prosecutor said that while Aivon was working at the hospital, the bill kept on piling up and had ballooned to P4,140,808.00 as of Nov. 15, 2018.
The warrant has not been served as of this writing due to the absence of the respondents in the places where they were usually present.