It was around July when you called about your cousin—asking for help. You said you were concerned about his health and that he is in need of medical assistance. I tried calling you but you said you were driving. It gave me an inkling that you, the cousin, would be able to help with the medical needs of your cousin. I mean, after all, you have a car. That’s me being judgmental, of course.
It was around the same week when your cousin’s sister messaged me on facebook asking for assistance. And while the case was similar, I didn’t figure out that you two were talking about the same person, not until a few weeks after.
He was in the hospital because he was weak, his x-ray was clear and the doctors didn’t see anything wrong with him. Finally the doctors asked him to get tested for HIV. This was in Binan, Laguna. The hospital however had no HIV test kits which then, had just recently expired and discarded. Christina had to find a kit so the hospital can proceed with the test. And then your cousin was sent home with the instruction to wait for the result that was sent over to the DOH for confirmatory. Your cousin’s sister had said that he was able to stand, walk and eat better- although still weak.
September, 3rd week. Christina told me that the hospital hasn’t called back yet. We then told your cousin’s sister to go and check on the hospital, the confirmatory was there. They decided to go for a treatment center nearer to their house. But the thing is, your cousin already had symptoms of TB.
He was brought back for confinement where they were told that he needed blood transfusion, presumably from hemoptysis.
A few days later, your cousin died.
I saw his sister’s posts. I saw her sadness. I felt her pain.
Three months ago, your cousin was weak. But x-ray did not show anything. Three months ago, he could have been referred to the treatment center for baseline processing so further treatment could have been taken while waiting for his confirmatory. But no referral was made.
That was three months ago.
Now he’s gone. It’s infuriating to see how the hospital failed to refer him for proper treatment. The counselor claimed he tried to contact his sister but no one was answering, but the sister said she never missed any call from anyone.
We don’t wanna be called victims to HIV. But your cousin is… was a victim to the bureaucracy of a protocol that caused lives even before. Your cousin was a victim of inability of a hospital to follow a recently issued order to refer patients at once for treatment baseline while waiting for confirmatory.
But your cousin’s case will remain 6 feet under the ground with him. Unless a case is filed, the story remains to be one those that will never get justice. And others may go through the same thing.
And because of stigma– the cycle will just go on and on.