Kelsey Merritt lamented the apparent lack of hospitals near the surfing spot in Siargao after her boyfriend American swimmer and Olympic gold medalist Conor Dwyer sustained a head injury that needed stitches.
According to Raffy Tima's report on "24 Oras", Dwyer was injured while surfing in waters off the area of General Luna earlier this week.
The Fil-Am model's Instagram story showed how they had to board a boat to get Dwyer to a clinic.
Surfing instructors said they had proper rescue and first aid training.
General Luna has no hospital but has a rural health unit and a private clinic.
A doctor from the clinic said tourists who get into various types of accidents on the island were often rushed to their care.
"Usually mga emergency cases na so like vehicular accidents, including na din yung mga different types of injuries na puwede sa beach like tulad ng surfing injury," Dr. Kevin Miña said.
Patients with injuries too severe would have to be brought to the Siargao District Hospital in the main island. It has an emergency room that could accommodate up to 30 people.
The hospital is about 20 minutes away from the tourist area in General Luna.
Siargao District Hospital may be the biggest of three hospitals in Siargao, but it had the capabilities of an infirmary.
"Ang sinasabing infirmary, walang surgical capabilties. But the hospital but...we have an operating room kaso lang wala nga kaming mga surgeon (at) anesthiologist," one of Siargao District Hospital's doctors," Dr. Esterlina Tan said.
Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat has assured the public that the Department of Tourism was working to have medical services available in the country’s top tourist destinations.
“We’ve already contacted local government especially in Siargao. They’ve already instructed all the municipalities, especially all the mayors, na dapat may doctors and nurses available," Puyat said.
"This is a high tourist season, dapat available siya," she added.
Department of Tourism Caraga Regional Director Ma. Ana Nuguid, on the other hand, said the provincial government has instructed local government units regarding the visibility of the doctors and nurses in their respective areas. —Margaret Claire Layug/NB, GMA News