Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Jessie Bass: Medical Risks vs. Rewards

Many have responded to “The Story of Jessie Bass”. One was a blind email from Mr. Rene Rava of Quezon City who said: “Jessie's death is a senseless one. These things could have been avoided.” Jessie’s family also thought it could have been avoided. They demanded an assurance from St. Luke’s that his death be the first and the last on the gantry of their modern 64 Slice CT Scan equipment. St. Luke’s, however, continued to claim no responsibility on the death of Jessie Bass. They said “Severe reactions requiring aggressive treatment…is only 0.04%... Fatal reactions are exceedingly rare…” The impression was that Jessie Bass, unfortunately, was on the wrong side of the statistics.

It was risks versus rewards for Jessie who was the most senior Filipino officer at Marubeni, Philippines. As a businessman, he too learned that “higher risks: higher returns”. When he came into the hospital complaining of stomach pains, he really just wanted to be relieved of his pains. But I suppose, he had no choice but to literally hand over his life entirely to his attending physician, Dr. Edgardo M. Bondoc, or to St. Luke’s Medical Center, with its cadre of experts, for that matter. After all, it was their accepted responsibility to know, to cure and to save lives. They have the training, the experience and the most modern medical equipment to exactly pinpoint and diagnose one’s condition. While Jessie was being sent home, he asked Dr. Bondoc if he could be confined instead - since his family was abroad. Dr. Bondoc confessed he promised him: “I’ll take care of you”.

This was Jessie’s personal conviction. He had so much faith in this “World Class” institution, which unfortunately failed to avert possible allergic reaction even given more than 12 hours he waited for an emergency CT Scan, which of all hours was conducted at 12 mid-night. There was a lot of time to have reinforced the initial diagnosis of appendicitis, to do further clinical tests and to confirm that his family did have a history of allergies.

The ordeal then started after confinement. As Korina Sanchez said, “Little did he know that he was walking to his death.” If I were Jessie, I would have asked why I had to sign a waiver before I could undergo a CT scan. What was I waiving? Was I agreeing that no matter what happened to me, the doctor, the medical staff, and the hospital were not at fault? All risks then were on me, as the patient, even though it was a doctor and a hospital induced contrast dye. But, this dye was not even a medicine to cure my illness. It was to help the doctor and the hospital to know more about my condition! How legally strong then is a hospital-crafted waiver form to completely absolve it, and/or its staff, especially if it caused harm, or worse, the life of a person?

If I were Jessie and it was clearly explained to me that there was a risk I might die from severe allergic reactions to this contrast dye, I would have asked if both the dye and the CT scan were needed in the first place. After all, did not my attending physician previously diagnose it as acute appendicitis? What added value would more information be? Can a CT Scan detect and rule out infectious deceases, as Dr. Bondoc wanted? If the doctor laid out the cards on Jessie, clearly giving a picture of risks and rewards; I am sure Jessie would have opted to immediately be cut up for appendicitis, which other doctors say is a 20 minute procedure.

I wonder if issues of risks and rewards are discussed at the level of the Board of Trustees and Board of Advisers of St. Luke’s Medical Center. Are they, in fact, willing to take risks of fatal reactions even as small as 4 out of 10,000 among their CT Scan patients? Rather, would they not maintain the position that life should be preserved at all costs especially under an improved protocol? What value should hospitals, especially non-profit, non-stock medical centers give life?

Many have agreed with Rene Rava. Jessie's death was a senseless one. The CT Scan was an unnecessary procedure. This lapse of judgment could have been avoided. At the least, the CT Scan protocol should have been tighter under the direct supervision of experienced medical personnel.

See Korina Sanchez on Jessie Bass –


NOTE: Please share and email Jessie.vbass@yahoo.com if you, your relatives or friends have a similar experience with St. Luke’s Medical Center, its doctors and staff, or with other hospitals and medical practitioners in the Philippines.


Reina said...

I was searching for some cases on medical malpractice.

I watched the video and agree with his wife...sick people would opt to stay in the hospital in the hope of getting well...and not die.

This was such a costly oversight. In olden times, there were mo CT Scans and appendicitis was treated as such...appendicitis. Apparently modern technology worked to his disadvantage. Something supposedly done in 20 minutes became complicated leading to his untimely death....Blend the old with the new...the surgery would have been a priority procedure over the CT Scan.

this may be quite late, but my sincerest condolences to the family.

Edurino said...

Yes, I think many of the younger doctors are so naive and stooges of drug companies and the hospital they work for. They have to make the hospital and the drug company earn. The bigger the better hence a lot of unnecessary procedures and medication. They are excited about the perks the pharmaceutical companies give. The pharmaceutical company's grant perks on condition that the doctor use their products. In the end, the patient suffers. I also had a bad experience only last week (not St. Lukes) and I am in the process of compiling the details. It is also a case involving a "waiver" Since the patient is the losing end there has to be place where they can express their grievance like this site. Thank you to whoever thought of this forum.

Jay Parmar said...

Suffering hospital negligence can result in death or serious injury with large costs and suffering associated to it. If someone you love has been harmed by hospital malpractice, here is some important information that you should consider:

* In order to prevail in a hospital malpractice suit you have to prove that the hospital staff acted unreasonably and that the hospital staff conduct was a direct cause of injury. Unless both issues are proved, there is no case.
* A hospital staff is not negligent simply because his/her efforts were unsuccessful.
* The failure of a treatment is not negligence if it was an accepted treatment based on the information the doctor had or should have had when the choice of treatment was made.
Visit Medical Negligence solicitors for more information.

conrado d. fontanilla said...

What Else Do We Need to Enact a Medical Malpractice Law in the Philippines?
Congress must enact a Medical Malpractice law.

By Conrado D. Fontanilla

Health professionals should obtain patient’s consent and explain alternative modes of treatment or cure in conventional and alternative medicine. It should be considered as malpractice to explain only the expertise of the medical professional attending to a patient; otherwise, another expert should explain alternative modes. A heart surgeon should also explain about stem cell therapy and infusion chelation therapy. Proceedings in obtaining patient’s consent and explanations of alternative modes of treatment and cure should be recorded and stored as one of the bases of court proceedings in medical malpractice.
Filipinos should not fall victim to the misguided tutoring of Filipino health professionals and workers.
Filipinos should not fall victim to the bias of the West toward conventional medicine.
Filipinos should not fall victim to the economic power of industries in conventional medicine.
Filipinos should not fall victim to the economic interest of big insurance companies.
Filipinos should not fall victim to the economic interest of multinational pharmaceutical companies.
Filipinos should not fall victim to the political stranglehold in favor of conventional medicine and antagonistic to alternative medicine.

To victims and potential victims of medical practice do you agree that we should start a movement toward the enactment of a law on medical malpractice in the Philippines?
A law on billboards, due to a few incidences of billboards falling on pedestrians, had been enacted.
I have requested the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes for additional financial support for my infusion chelation therapy for my myocardial ischemia. But PCSO said this time that chelation therapy is not included in its support program. The first time I was given a financial support, the medical staff in charge of screening applicants said chelation is not included. I went straight to the Manager of PCSO who gave me financial support. But that first support is not enough to finance a chelation program my chelationist has prescribed. That is why I am requesting for additional support.
I have heard complains of medical malpractice before. I have read your stories of medical malpractice. Let us stop medical malpractice and enhance the adoption of alternative medicine.
This blog could serve for people who agree to the enactment of malpractice law; they may give their names or aliases to be verified afterwards when we launch a signature campaign for a petition to be forwarded to Congress and the President.

fmvsweetbutterfly said...

There should be a medical malpractice law here in the Philippines especially the government is promoting medical tourism. Private hospital are indeed not safe, I am also a victim of malpractice and will file a case against that doctor and the institution if they will tolerate such thing!

Charles Briggs said...

a solicitors for medical negligence should know all the areas or cases against NHS Hospitals, General Practitioner, Doctors, Dentist and Nurses.

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JJ Santos said...

I just want to share my story...
hope youll have time to read.