Founded during 1907 during the pre-Commonwealth Insular Government, the Philippine General Hospital served double purpose as a state-owned public hospital as well as a teaching and training school for medical students, especially from the University of the Philippines which administers and operates it. Over the decades the PGH offered affordable medical care while weathering tropical epidemics and World War II among others. As a favored hospital of first resort the PGH is almost always filled with patients going beyond its estimated 1,500 bed capacity. Not even their announcement of a lengthy interior renovation could stem the tide of incoming patients.
The Philippine General Hospital finally put its foot down in a press briefing this Wednesday according to CNN Philippines, where it pleaded with the public to try getting their medical service somewhere else. The July 10 address by PGH officer-in-charge and spokesperson Jubert Benedicto reiterated the center’s earlier announcement in June, that they have severely limited patient capacity upon the start of renovations to their Emergency Room and Intensive Care Units. These refits are not expected to be done until sometime next year. However prospective patients continue to arrive at the PGH in usual amounts.
“Because of the renovation, the number of patients that we can accept and treat in the ER and ICU has been reduced. Our bed capacity has tremendously decreased,” Benedicto said during the briefing, adding, “We apologize and ask for understanding. We ask everyone to consult to other hospitals if possible.” The OIC explained that the PGH, which can normally handle a daily consultation schedule of 25-25 patients, has long been swamped by 130-170 medical service seekers instead. In addition, the formerly 20-person ICU only has a capacity for 12 due to the renovations. The only reason the PGH has not cracked down harder on the massive everyday incoming workload was due to its standing policy to never turn away patients.
Of this, Jubert Benedicto says, “We are not driving them away; we still give them the necessary service.” He does continue that the issues of space and manpower is exacerbated by the constant stream of incoming patients, citing as an example how the optimum personnel-patient ratio of one PGH nurse looking after 5-8 patients is instead bloated into a nurse for every 25-27 people in the hospital. Benedicto thus requests that incoming medical service-seekers can consult with nearby local government hospitals and tertiary medical centers, especially if their medical condition is not critical or life-threatening.
Image courtesy of ABS-CBN News