The steep price of health care

September 21, 2009 at 10:13 am 2 comments


Last Tuesday, I had to rush somebody in my family to the Philippine Heart Center because he was complaining of headaches, dizziness and nausea.

We proceeded to the Emergency  Room of Heart Center upon the advise of a relative. We arrive at 11 AM and had him checked. The ER doctor asked us if he wants be confined and we agreed.

It took us seven hours before we could get a room. In those seven hours, we had to stay at the ER because there was nowhere else to stay. It was a sad and heartbreaking sight, I tell you.

I got to talk to one patient who has been at the ER since 6 AM of that day. She said she was on a wait list because all the rooms are booked. She said she came all the way from Lucena City upon the referral of her doctor. She was accompanied by her son. She also told me that a couple of patients have also been waiting since the day before, Monday.

I assumed that these patients are waiting for a bed in the charity ward. We were fortunate because we have the ability to pay and was able to get a semi-private room even though it took us seven hours of waiting. But what about these people, who can’t afford anything?

I also saw another elderly patient in the afternoon, who was wheeled in by her grandnieces/grandnephews. They wanted to confine their grandaunt for her pulmonary condition but was unable to do so because all the rooms–all kinds!–were still booked.

I overheard the grandniece saying that FEU General Hospital in Fairview, Quezon City was also booked and the only room available is the P4,200/day kind. She said they couldn’t afford it.

It was sad and heartbreaking because it takes so much to maintain one’s health. Hospitals and medicines are very expensive and not all people can afford healthcare. When I become rich, I’ll build a hospital or donate several rooms for the less-fortunate.

Entry filed under: Health. Tags: , , , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Dr. Carl A. T. Antonio  |  September 22, 2009 at 6:04 am

    The scene you have just mentioned was, and is still, a daily occurrence in most government hospitals across the country. During my seven years in the University of the Philippines, seeing patients (charity and private patients) stay in the ER for at least half a day to about a week was disheartening, unfortunately the hospital also didn’t have a choice since all beds were occupied to maximum capacity, and all hospital personnel have been decked patients over and above the ideal patient-healthcare provider ratio.

    From one perspective, we can say that what we lack are the facilities themselves (i.e. hospitals, medical professionals, supplies, etc). But from another vantage point, it appears that the problem relates in ways to health financing.

    Most of us, when we become hospitalized, would obviously spend out-of-pocket, since very few are actually covered by any health insurance. I remember having written once:

    “Isn’t healthcare dire when the first thing people ask when they get sick is, How much will the procedure or medication cost, instead of What’s the patient’s condition and is the contemplated procedure the best form of treatment available?
    “Isn’t healthcare dire when sickness means pawning appliances and jewelry, mortgaging the house, borrowing from the neighborhood loan shark, begging for financial assistance from a politician or the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, or signing a promissory note with the hospital after much haggling with hospital or clinic billing departments after each consult or confinement?”

    Until such time that we have a strong and comprehensive national health insurance policy in place — one which covers all people, is accepted by most institutions, and covers a reasonable amount of healthcare cost — I do not think there would be some change in our current situation.

  • 2. JimmyBean  |  October 1, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    I don’t know If I said it already but …Excellent site, keep up the good work. I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks,🙂

    A definite great read..Jim Bean

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