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Senior citizen with COVID-19 dies right outside ER after no hospital could admit him

A senior citizen with COVID-19 passed away right outside the emergency room of a hospital in Metro Manila after no other hospital could admit him.

A netizen named Angelo B. on Twitter said his father died "in the cold" after he could not get admitted in any hospital they called or went to.

He said his father tested positive for COVID-19 on March 16. 

"We isolated him at home and got a doctor to monitor his vitals through text and prescribe medicine," Angelo said on Twitter.

However on the night of March 27, his father had difficulty breathing.

"He started to struggle breathing at 8:40pm last night, March 27. we called an ambulance at first, but they were asking for P16-20k upfront so instead we opted for a volunteer vehicle from a close friend. we were sustaing him through oxygen but the tank was nearly out," Angelo said.

They went to nearby hospitals and called others, even the One Hospital Command, but there was no available slot for his father.

"We started shipping him to nearby hospitals and calling in advance. this was the worst part. every. single. hospital. every one of them, was full. be it admission, ER, even the waitlist for the ER. every single one was full. you name it, from Asian Hospital to St. Luke's," he said.




No hospital could also refill their oxygen tank as they said they had patients who needed oxygen too.

At 2 a.m., they decided for home care instead, stocking up on oxygen tanks and looking for nasal oxygen delivery machines they could rent.

However, at 3 a.m., his father stopped breathing. They did CPR then rushed him to the ER of South Superhighway Medical Center.  But since it did not have an ICU, they had to look for one and the closest was Asian Hospital.

"I begged them kasi sobrang critical na ang tatay ko. They agreed to put me in waiting pero they let us know na rin na mayroon dalawa pang pasyente that's waiting to get into the ICU as well," Angelo said in an interview with Raffy Tima on GMA News' Unang Balita on Wednesday.

[I begged them because my dad was in critical condition. They agreed to put me in waiting (list) but they let us know that there were two other patients also waiting to get into the ICU as well.]

His father was placed on a stretcher, hooked to an oxygen tank, and his vital signs were monitored. However, he flatlined at 5:20 a.m.

"They used the defibrillator and everything. he was next to the door of the ER, a few minutes away from being able to enter the ICU. my brother was wailing and crying outside with my mother in shock and unresponsive next to him. my dad died in the cold," Angelo wrote on Twitter.

He said he posted their story on Twitter to let their experience serve as a lesson to others.

"Siyempre, it's been a year we were careful. Nothing happened to us. Sobrang naging confident na kami, maybe overconfident. And I think 'yon 'yung pagkakamali namin," Angelo said on Unang Balita.

[Of course, It's been a year we were careful. Nothing happened to us. We became confident, maybe overconfident. And I think that was our fault.]

"Please just do what you can kasi 'pag tinamaan ka na, katulad sa amin, puro regrets na lang maiisip mo," he said.

[Please just do what you can because if you get hit (by COVID-19) like us, your thoughts will be filled with regrets.]

Angelo said his 61-year-old father was healthy before he contracted the coronavirus.

The night his father had difficulty breathing, they brought him to eight hospitals.

They also called 20 hospitals and the One Hospital Command.

"In-inform din po kami na maraming naghahanap ng vacancy at naka-wait list kami. Pero sabi nila sa amin, if we want to try finding other hospitals that we should try talaga," Angelo said.

[We were informed that many were looking for a vacancy and that we were on the wait list. However, they told us that if we want to try finding other hospitals, then we should really try that.]

According to Dr. Jose Rene de Grano, president of the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines, Inc., the hospitalization utilization rate as reported may not reflect the fact that other patients were still waiting to be admitted.

"Hindi pa rito kasama 'yung mga pasyente na nakapila sa emergency room, 'yung mga pasyente po na presently may posibleng i-transfer from other facilities," he said.

[This does not include patients waiting at the emergency room, patients who may be transferred from other facilities.]

"Kaya po talagang 'pag sinabi ng isang hospital na they’re almost full capacity usually ina-assume natin na 100% capacity na po 'yan," Grano said.

[So when a hospital says it is almost at full capacity, we usually assume that it has already reached 100% capacity.] —KG, GMA News