Gov’t hospital wants apology from broadcaster Ramon Tulfo for ‘cyberbullying’

Photo: Philippine General Hospital website
Photo: Philippine General Hospital website

The government-run Philippine General Hospital (PGH) condemned TV host and radio broadcaster Ramon Tulfo on Saturday, stating that Tulfo should apologize for posting the now-viral Facebook video which they said is a case of “cyberbullying and doctor shaming.”

Tulfo shared the video on Thursday which shows him berating a triage doctor at the hospital’s emergency room, demanding treatment for the young girl his driver had accidentally bumped on a congested street in Navotas.

The video prompted the PGH Physicians’ Association to release a statement regarding the incident on Saturday, stating that the hospital condemns the “contemptible acts of Mr. Ramon Tulfo as his team videotaped the events at the ER triage while he was verbally abusing the staff members on duty as a minor he brought to the ER was being assessed.”

The statement also said that Tulfo cited the triage doctor’s name without consent, “nor did he try to anonymize the people in the video.”

The statement reads: “Cyberbullying and doctor shaming are not only punishable by Philippine law, these also demean the health care workers’ and patients’ rights to privacy. We stand firm with the PGH community in upholding the rights of our staff, students, and especially the patients whom we serve.”

Yesterday, the hospital issued another statement which states that “at no point was necessary medical intervention withheld from the victim when the child was at the Triage of the ER of PGH.”

“If ever there was any disruption in service to the victim it was directly caused by the behavior of Mr. Tulfo,” it reads.

In the same statement, the PGH demanded a public apology from Tulfo and asked him to take down the infamous video.

“It is the primary purpose of PGH to save lives. It is a difficult and often daunting task especially considering the realities of PGH. In this, our doctors are committed in dedicating their lives. It is our duty to defend against all who attempt to undermine this goal,” the statement says.

The PGH also mentioned that legal actions may be done by the triage doctor, stating that they will leave the legal implications to the lawyers.

Meanwhile, in a Facebook post Tulfo shared on Saturday, he said he initially planned to use the recording of the child’s condition for future legal reference not related to the doctor in the said video.

The staunch Duterte supporter stated that the “the doctor refused to look over the patient, driving me to get upset.”

“I’m not related to the child, but I was concerned about her [condition],” Tulfo said in Filipino. He also said that anyone in the situation would get angry as well.

Netizens weighed in with mixed reactions on Tulfo’s post:

Aed Vill said in a mix of English and Filipino: “The doctor refused [treatment] because you insisted on video recording [the incident] which is prohibited! Don’t get the sympathy of those who do not know the emergency protocols.”

“You did not respect the staff, the patient your driver had bumped, and the others who were getting treatment in the video. So don’t act like you’re showing your concern [for the patient], when you in fact broke the data privacy [act] and confidentiality. And that is what caused the delay for treatment of the patient you brought.”

Jam Cagas urged for Tulfo to stop justifying what he did and to stop asking sympathy from people: “The doctor has had years of training before him so he knows what he’s doing. For sure he knows much better than you.

“Imagine going through years of medical school, internship and residency training. It is never easy. The toxic shifts and demands doctors struggle with. It was so unfair to take a video of him without his consent and worse, post it on social media for the world to see leaving the doctor no chance to defend himself (although he doesn’t have to).”

Cagas added that taking videos of hospital staff is not allowed, nor is including a video of the minor allowed without consent.

“If you were previously unaware then let this be a lesson for you but then again ignorance of the law doesn’t excuse anyone,” she said.

Another netizen agreed with Tulfo and said that she experienced something similar in another hospital.

Gelyn Valenzuela shared: “I remember my sibling we brought to the hospital, we didn’t have money at the time, my sibling was about to die when they asked for a deposit. I hope that the system and the habits of doctors change as well as the hospital[s] in the [P]hilippines.”

Ruby Buitizon Sabado feels the same way.

“[H]ahaha!!! The doctors, staff and other employees of those kinds of hospitals, when you look [like] you have money [on you], they would okay [it] and attend to you, but those who seem to have no money, they’ll ignore,” she said.

“My heart breaks seeing the situation personally.”

The PGH is the biggest hospital in the country with a 1,500-bed capacity. 1,000 beds are for indigent patients while 500 beds are for private patients.

Tulfo’s family is currently under public scrutiny for a controversial PHP60 million (US$1.1 million) ad deal his brother’s production company had with the Tourism department which their sister headed.

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