Frontliners at the Makati Medical Center (MMC) became demoralized after learning that eventual coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) positive patient Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III had visited their hospital and possibly exposed them to the virus, according to an official of the medical facility.
"It's definitely understandable that the workforce of the Makati Medical Center is demoralized and apprehensive about the level of exposure that some of our members got from (the senator)," Medical Director Saturnino Javier said in an interview on 24 Oras.
The MMC official said Pimentel "should be part of the solution and not giving us a problem anymore."
However, Javier admitted that the "pain and anxiety" of the health workers had somehow been "eased up" after the hospital came out with an official statement and aired its side in the media.
Pimentel had brought his pregnant wife Kathryna to the hospital on Tuesday evening for delivery via cesarean section before he found out that he was positive for the virus.
The senator went out of their house despite being initially considered a person under investigation after he had himself tested last Friday due to COVID-19-like symptoms. He only learned about his diagnosis on Monday as he was accompanying his wife at the hospital.
Javier confirmed that the senator's wife is still confined at the MMC and has not delivered her baby yet.
After drawing criticism on social media, Pimentel asked for understanding from the public, saying he merely got excited he was soon going to be a father. He added he was not coughing anyway, and could not possibly infect anyone through droplets.
“Una sa lahat, hindi naman ako umuubo so hindi ako nakakalat ng droplets. Wala ako ubo so ‘wag masyado matakot,” Pimentel said.
In a statement, Javier earlier slammed Pimentel's "irresponsible and reckless" actions which he said added further burden to the hospital.
"We denounce the irresponsible and reckless action of the senator. He added to the burden of a hospital trying to respond in its most competent and aggressive manner to cope with the daunting challenges of this COVID-19 outbreak," Javier said.
Asked if the hospital will be pressing charges against Pimentel, Javier said he would let their management decide on that.
"I will not go that far muna. I will leave that to management," he said.
Confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines rose to 636 on Wednesday with 38 recorded fatalities. -Joahna Lei Casilao/MDM, GMA News