Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Brillantes' Sad Experience at St. Luke's Medical Center

From: Arlene & Ted Brillantes

I'm sharing our own sad experience with St Lukes Medical Center at 2006. My brother had already posted this at

Feel free to check that out.
We hope that our stories may effect change in not just St. Lukes but as well as the rest of the hospitals in the country.The state of Philippine Medical Service
Here is our story....

I would like to share to you my painful experience with the medical service in the Philippines. On July 7 of this year, my father died at St Lukes Medical Center, QC. He was admitted there on June 27 complaining of a swelling in his leg. After a week, he was a given a clean bill of health and was informed he could leave in the morning. But about 72 hrs later he was dead!

A month earlier the same hospital performed a general check up and declared him healthy without any major illness or medical problem. How can it happen at St. Luke's Medical Center which claims to be “one of the world’s best”? [quotation is from st. luke’s website] Had the same thing happened in a small provincial hospital like what we have in Abra, where medical facilities are less sophisticated, the right medicines may not have been available and the doctors may not have had the same experience and expertise, it would still have been very difficult to understand but easier to accept. Yet this was St. Luke's Medical Center which prides in “delivering quality healthcare…combining medical expertise and the most advanced technology”.

When I learned of papa's confinement I didn’t worry much since he was at an excellent hospital, was reported to be in good condition and in happy disposition. So I was truly shocked and surprised when on July 5, I received a text message from my sister Arlene that my father was in a serious condition. I was able to talk to papa through a phone conference arranged by Fr. Michael, my brother priest living in San Francisco. Though papa was in good spirits, I could sense that his condition was not good as I could hear his labored breathing through the phone. As the evening progressed, his condition deteriorated quickly. I took the next flight to Manila but it was too late. My father died before I could see him. My siblings and I were all in a shock. We just couldn't believe that our father who never had any serious illness, who took precautions for his health and was declared fit to go home by a world-acclaimed hospital would pass away and so quickly at that.

In anguish and in pain, we struggled to understand. His death is especially painful for my sister, Arlene, who attended to him throughout his confinement and who was with him on that fateful night. She recounted how my father was in excruciating pain; how no doctor went to see him even after she repeatedly called attention of the head nurse. She later told us with tears in her eyes and in a crackling voice, “Maybe if I had taken him home on the day he was supposed to have been discharged and brought him back to the emergency room, he would have received immediate medical attention and would have survived.” On July 10, three days after his death, we sent a letter to the hospital asking for explanation. It took 2 weeks and a second letter for the hospital to respond. They requested a dialog with us on July 26. In that meeting, the management admitted there was negligence on the part of doctors and nurses. They promised to do a full investigation and offered to forfeit the unpaid bill of P90,000.00.

We did not accept the offer but insisted on a full report. Arlene followed up on their promised report almost everyday but to no avail. She was repeatedly told to return the next day. Finally, she was told that it would take 45 days to finalize the investigation. Why does it take 45 days, when all records and attending staff were available? Strange as it was, we did not raise the question and decided to wait and to hope. The promised 45-day period came and went and there was no word at all from the hospital.
So on Sept 4, we sent an ultimatum letter demanding for the following: 1) to find the truth; 2) to institute corrective measures, where errors and faults are detected, for the sake of other patients, and; 3) fair and just and compensation for our loss.

The hospital management responded on Sept 20. In that letter it acknowledged failure from the resident physician but it was lacking in details as to what really happened and on what corrective actions were taken. Moreover, it claimed that “some diagnostic plans offered by Dra. Payot (the consulting physician) was not done due to the refusal of Arlene. When there was a need to call the attending physician during that night that he was in pain, Arlene vetoed it.”We were simply aghast and appalled by these outrageous claims. Instead of acknowledging failure and responsibility and doing its best to assuage hurt feelings, the hospital blames the family. Wow, unbelievable! How can a prestigious hospital sink so low? The patient is admitted by the hospital. From the time of admission, the hospital is responsible for the patient. Any six-grader can understand that. Actually, there should not even be a need for a family member to call the attention of the hospital regarding a deteriorating condition of a patient. That is the responsibility of the hospital and its staff. But here you have my sister telling the head nurse, repeatedly at that, to call bedside medical attention to our father? No medical staff responded! Now, the hospital says that my sister should have called the consultant herself? Wow! Does the hospital mean to say that for all its bandied excellent medical service, they have no standard procedure in responding to critical situation? What if my sister was not in the room at all, would my father have died a slow painful death without even anyone noticing it? This is truly, shockingly unbelievable!

The callous, uncaring, indifferent and insulting manner the hospital has dealt with our rightful complaint leaves my siblings and me with no choice but to find justice for our dead father through the courts.

Unless St Lukes accept their mistake they will not implement change and the incidents will continue.

If you need further information or supporting documents we will be happy to provide them.

Finally, we did not proceed with the suit against St Lukes as we knew it will be a long struggle and costly.

Thank you for your time and I would welcome any comments.

Ted Brillantes tedbrillantes@yahoo.com
69 Prasartsook, Yenakard, Chongnonsee,
Yannawa, Bangkok, Thailand
Tel. (662) 249-1951, (663) 1 384 394


The story of Jessie V. Bass can be found on this link:
Arlene Brillantes

1 comment:

EMMA said...


In 2003, the Joint Commission International (JCI) accredited St. Luke’s Medical Center, affirming that the hospital meets the highest standards for patient care and organizational management. St. Luke’s is the first and only healthcare facility in the Philippines and the second of several in Asia to be accredited by JCI.

JCI accreditation means St. Luke’s patients are assured of receiving care that is at par with that of the best hospitals in the world. JCI is the international arm of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), the oldest and most prestigious healthcare accreditation organization in the world. It is respected by US hospitals for its reputation, experience and credibility.

The accreditation process involves a thorough evaluation of a healthcare organization’s performance in areas that most affect patient health and safety. In getting accreditation, an organization makes a commitment to adhere to and maintain JCI standards, which provide the framework for safe and quality care.

St. Luke’s achieved the prestigious accreditation after two years of rigorous preparation and following a week-long on-site survey. With the JCI seal, St. Luke’s commits to keep striving for the highest level of performance possible, improve patient outcomes, and create an environment for continuous improvement.

St Luke's should not use the 2003 accreditation with Joint Commission becasue this does not mean anything. If this hospital is really accredited by JCI, thie accreditation should be current since accrediatation in the US is every 2 years. This is an example of misleading the public.