SC upholds dismissal of gov’t doctor for medical malpractice

By on January 1, 2015

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MANILA — The Supreme Court (SC) has upheld a ruling of the Office of the Ombudsman (Ombudsman) that dismissed from the service a government doctor for his failure to attend personally to a woman-patient, which resulted in the death of her child in 2009.

In a 12-page ruling written by Associate Justice Martin S. Villarama, Jr., the SC said that the Court of Appeals (CA) correctly affirmed the Ombudsman in finding Dr. Idol Bondoc of the Oriental Mindoro Provincial Hospital in Calapan City, guilty of grave misconduct.

“His violation of the sworn duty to attend to his patients faithfully and conscientiously is inexcusable. Such flagrant disregard of established rule and improper conduct were proven by substantial evidence,” the SC in its Nov. 12, 2014 ruling said.

Bondoc’s dismissal was originally ordered by former Ombudsman Merceditas N. Gutierrez.

This prompted Bondoc to bring the case to the CA until it was elevated to the SC.

The case arose from a complaint filed by Marilou Rala Mantala, who claimed that at 9 a.m. on April 3, 2009, she was about to deliver her fifth child under the care of Bondoc.

Mantala claimed that the midwife and the younger assistants pressed down on her abdomen causing excruciating pain on her ribs and made her very weak.

They repeatedly did this pressing until the baby and placenta came out.

When she regained consciousness, she was already at the recovery room.

Mantala learned that an operation was performed on her by Bondoc to remove her ruptured uterus but what depressed her most was her stillborn baby and the loss of her reproductive capacity.

The next day, she was transferred to a ward.

The victim noticed her very swollen vulva and her surgical wound open with liquid squirting from it.

Mantala’s wound was regularly cleaned by a nurse.

She was discharged from the hospital on April 9, 2009 notwithstanding that the suture on her wound needs to be fixed and she still has a cough.

At home, she took the antibiotics, cough medicine and multivitamins prescribed by Bondoc.

“Not only did petitioner routinely delegate his responsibility to his subordinates, he casually instructed them to press down repeatedly on [Mantala’s] abdomen, unmindful of her critical condition as borne out by his very own findings,” the SC said.

“Worse, petitioner haughtily and callously spoke of respondent’s case to the other doctors and medical staff while performing a CS after he had briefly attended to her at the delivery room,” it added.

“Finally, we find no merit in petitioner’s argument that the CA should have at least considered as mitigating circumstances his being a first offender, his 16 years in government service, and that he had not acted in bad faith and with clear intent to violate the law and established rules,” the SC said.