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OFW in KSA suspended from work over 'switching' of babies in hospital

A Filipina nurse in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been suspended from work for the accidental switching of newborn babies at a hospital she is working.

Nurse Gina (not her real name) has been blamed for the switching of babies, with hospital officials insisting that CCTV footage shows that she was the only one on duty at the time the switching could have happened.

Gina is working at a hospital in Jeddah, and was scheduled to go home to the Philippines when incident happened.

In an exclusive interview, Gina told GMA News Online that she has been blamed for the incident due to "negligence."

"'Yun po, sinasabi nila na ako sng may kasalanan, pero hindi naman ako ang nagbigay ng bata. Ako daw ang nagpalit ng bata, hindi naman ako aware na napalit ang bata dahil ang dami ko talagang trabaho. Sampu ang bata at dalawang bagong silang ... ang hirap po mag-isa po," she said. 

She wondered how the two babies got mixed up, saying there were two of them on duty at the nursery section at that time.

Also, she said the incident was an unfortunate one for her, especially that it happened on her last day of work before she was supposed to leave for the Philippines.

She was immediately suspended to give way for the investigation of the incident. Moreover, she said she was told that the case against her could be elevated to the Saudi Ministry of Health.

"Baka raw magpunta ang Ministry of Health at tanungin kung ano ang ginawa nilang aksyon about dun sa case na yun. Kaya pinapirma nila ako na stop work muna ako in the mean time. I-update na lang daw nila ako sa development," she said.

But more than a month since the incident, she has not been notified of any update on the case, Gina said.

She asked the help of rights group Kaagapay ng Bawat OFW, which referred her to the the Overseas Workers Welfare Office.

Meanwhile, OWWA Welfare Officer James Mendiola said the mothers of the babies have decided not to pursue the case provided the ospital would refund them of their expenses, and that the total amount would be shared equally by Gina and the hospital.

"Ang desisyon sa kanila, hati sila ng ospital dun sa pag-refund, 50-50 sila ng ospital, ang amount na sinabi ay Riyal 10,000 (raoughly P138,874) bawat Isa," Mendiola said.

Labor Attache Nasser Munder said that he would try to negotiate with the hospital that Gina be freed from the obligation.

"Ine-negotiate natin sa ospital. Alam naman natin ang financial capabilities ng worker maliit lang buwanang sahod, at since may pagkukulangan din ang ospital dahil under staff tapos pinapagtrabaho pa siya kahit na nagpasabi na siya na siya ay uuwi," Munder said. —Ronaldo Concha/LBG, GMA News