Medical Malpractice Law still years away for Filipinos

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(Top) Christine Jacob, Robert Su, Danilo Chiong, Dr Ted Herbosa, Lorna Tolentino, Edu Manzano, Dr Tony Leachon, and Martin So

(Bottom) Open forum at the launch with (from left) Dr Herbosa, Lorna Tolentino, Edu Manzano, Danilo Chiong, and Dr Leachon

During the open forum of the Watsons Generics launch, China Business asked Dr Ted Herbosa, Undersecretary of the PHL Department of Health, the following question: “With the President having the support of Congress, the impetus to enact laws comes from Malacañan. Is the Medical Malpractice Act in President Aquino's radar? Does he plan to make its enactment part of his legacy?”

Usec Herbosa replied, “Patient's rights are more important,” and that there was a need to educate patients.

Although he admitted, “I think, in time, we will really have to push [the Medical Malpractice Act], he said that under current laws, “You can sue your doctor. There have been [decisions] by the Supreme Court. But to make that a priority, we may have to push the others first.”

Herbosa explained, “The sin tax became a priority because it was both a health bill and a revenue raising bill. Then we also passed the RH Law (Reproductive Health), and we got that after several years.”

Dr Tony Leachon, president of the Philippines College of Physicians, chimed in. “Let me answer that for the medical community. At this point, I would not support the Medical Malpractice Law because of the inequities in infrastructure.”

Dr Leachon pointed out that in the US or advance countries, “you have doctors and CT scans in every corner. But, for example, you have a headache and you're in a Yolanda-stricken area with no CT scan. Should you blame the doctor for this inequity?”

Leachon said that unless the Philippines fixes three problems in the area of healthcare—infrastructure, human resources, and processes—a Medical Malpractice Law will get no support from the local medical community.


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