You are a normal human being from a developed country. In your developed country, there’s medical insurance and laws that hospitals have to follow that make you fairly confident that, should you have a medical emergency, that you will be immediately treated and cared for, no matter what. It’s just something you accept to be a common sense application of tax dollars, which were designed to help and protect you, the citizen…right?
One of the early things you’ll hear when you even talk about moving here, let alone actually making the giant leap, is that hospitals are “cash only”, and will let you die bleeding on their floor if you don’t have a car title to offer up. You’ll hear stories of heart attacks in the lobby for both foreigners and Filipino alike.
The truth is, Filipinos are pretty uneducated, and so they DO die bleeding on the floor of the lobby. Or they watch their children die because the hospital demanded money instead of treating the emergency. This does happen. But you, my educated foreigner, don’t have to suffer that fate.
Welcome to the Philippines law that can save your life. Here’s the legaleeze first:
“SECTION 1. In emergency or serious cases, it shall be unlawful for any proprietor, president, director, manager or any other officer, and/or medical practitioner or employee of a hospital or medical clinic to request, solicit, demand or accept any deposit or any other form of advance payment as a prerequisite for confinement or medical treatment of a patient in such hospital or medical clinic or to refuse to administer medical treatment and support as dictated by good practice of medicine to prevent death or permanent disability: Provided, That by reason of inadequacy of the medical capabilities of the hospital or medical clinic, the attending physician may transfer the patient to a facility where the appropriate care can be given, after the patient or his next of kin consents to said transfer and after the receiving hospital or medical clinic agrees to the transfer: Provided, however, That when the patient is unconscious, incapable of giving consent and/or unaccompanied, the physician can transfer the patient even without his consent: Provided, further, That such transfer shall be done only after necessary emergency treatment and support have been administered to stabilize the patient and after it has been established that such transfer entails less risks than the patient’s continued confinement: Provided, furthermore, That no hospital or clinic, after being informed of the medical indications for such transfer, shall refuse to receive the patient nor demand from the patient or his next of kin any deposit or advance payment: Provided, finally, That strict compliance with the foregoing procedure on transfer shall not be construed as a refusal made punishable by this Act.”
YEP! If you’re realizing that they have to follow a hippocratic oath, you guessed correctly! They have to save your life, no matter what. After they’ve stabilized you, they can talk payment and transfer to another facility. Until then, they’re not to bother you with such details.
Sadly, the penalties for not abiding by this law are pretty low. Most hospitals could laugh it off if they wanted to. BUT….train your Filipina well enough, and she can yell and scream in Tagalog enough to get the police involved, which gets the news media involved, which is not what they want. Remember, Filipino establishments want to LOOK like they’re doing the job right while they mess it up behind the scenes. All you care about is getting your problem taken care of so you can get back home to read more life-saving articles on this blog, right?
Now you have the means to do that. You’re welcome. Yes…you now DO owe me your life.Published in