Three nurses who took part in taking and uploading of the video of a suspected drug personality inside the hospital in Cebu were fired from service on Tuesday, February 19.
The nurses took a 1 minute and 25 second video of Gembe Casas, a drug suspect who had been wounded in a police operation, while lying in the hospital bed in the emergency room of Tuburan District Hospital in Cebu.
The video was uploaded in Facebook and immediately went viral, earning millions of views, shares and reactions. Netizens were irked at the scene where it appeared that the bloody suspect catching his breath was not properly attended and left to die. Casas died an hour later.
The nurses, who were all job order workers, were suspended on February 10, and terminated from service nine days later.
Based on investigation of Cebu Provincial Health Office (PHO) grievance committee, two of the nurses who actually took the video and uploaded it online have “direct responsibility and liability.”
The third nurse only took a photo of Casas and did not upload it, but was still held liable for violating the Data Privacy Act.
A midwife who asked for a copy of the video, on the other hand, will be referred to the Provincial Human Resources Office for further investigation. She has been a permanent employee of the Tuburan District Hospital.
In an interview, PHO Chief Rene Catan said Gov. Hilario Davide III agreed with the committee’s recommendation to terminate the service of the three nurses.
He also stressed that the Provincial Capitol’s concern is to terminate the nurses’ contracts and not push for the revocation of their licenses.
“That’s how grave a misconduct and ethical issue with regards to privacy against a person is. We will ask our health care workers again to please refrain from taking videos or pictures of our patients without their permission. We will not hesitate to terminate people if they violate the memo of the Province,” he added.
Catan lamented that they might have to make rounds again in the 16 provincial and district hospitals to re-orient medical personnel on their responsibilities and duties.
He added that one of the nurses claimed that she took the video for “record purposes.”
“The reason they gave us (me and the governor) during the investigation was that they took the video for record purposes. They said they took the video because they did not know who he (Casas) was. For them, they did it to determine who this person is because he was brought in with the police and they did not know him so they recorded it. It’s not your responsibility. Your responsibility is to focus on what you need to do and what you have to do,” Catan said.
Catan reiterated that the hospital’s medical personnel followed their standard protocol when they attended to Casas.
“The nurses and the physicians didn’t commit any lapses. They did their best based on their capability and capacity as medical professionals. If you really look at it (the video), it really gave the public a bad impression. But if you took that one-minute video in the context of the entire incident, then you’d see that everything was done properly based on procedure,” he said.
He also extended his condolences and apologized to Casas’s bereaved family in behalf of the PHO.(With reports from Sunstar Cebu)