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Bacolod City, Philippines Wednesday, June 24, 2020
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Sick sleep on sidewalk to get help


Sick people, some of whom are frail and in pain, line up on the sidewalk in front of the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital at Lacson Street in Bacolod City as early as 1 a.m. to be able to get a number to see a doctor when the outpatient department opens at 8 in the morning.

The 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. curfew in Bacolod City and rain has not deterred them as they sit on cardboard and newspapers, or spread out mats to catch some sleep while they wait. Hardly any physical distancing is practiced.

Some have returned to the sidewalk several times because they failed to line up early enough in the past to be included in the quota of outpatients who can be attended to for the day.

Dr. Julius Drilon, CLMMRH chief, said the hospital’s outpatient department only has the capacity to accept 120 outpatients from 8 a.m. to noon daily, except Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.

He said the hospital that is caring for patients beyond its capacity is faced with lack of resources and manpower, and has to take necessary precautions against overcrowding amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

A 38-year-old Bacolod resident who identified himself as Christian was in the line as early as 1 a.m. yesterday, which he said was his third attempt to try to get an appointment. Christian said he had arrived at 3 a.m. before and already there was a very long line of patients waiting, so he was unable to see a doctor.

Christian had dislocated his wrist when he fell off his motorcycle and was trying to get an appointment for the cast to be removed.


A 29-year-old woman sitting on the pavement with her husband said she was hoping to see a doctor for the removal of a T Tube that was placed in her stomach after a gallbladder operation.

Her husband said they were from Kabankalan City and had been in the line five times and were hoping that yesterday they would finally be able to see a doctor.

Elvis Sarmineto, a 34-year-old mall maintenance worker from Murcia, said yesterday morning was his third time in the line to try to see a doctor. He said he was referred by a doctor at Riverside Medical Center for a gallstone operation, as he was often in pain.

A 51-year-old Bago resident said he was in line to try to get an appointment for his 49-year-old wife. She had an operation last year and appeared to have developed an infection and needed a checkup, he said.

Getting to see a doctor has been difficult since the COVID-19 lockdown, and yesterday was the fifth time he has been in line to try to get an appointment for his wife, he said.

A 47-year-old woman from Barangay Bata, Bacolod City, said she was a cashier who no longer has a job. She had a cyst in the breast and she was hoping to see a doctor to read her biopsy results.


A department store security guard from Bago City said he was in line to try to get a doctor’s appointment for his 68-year-old mother whose left foot was amputated due to diabetes.

“My mother needs a follow up checkup and I am lining up for her to spare her from having to spend the night on the sidewalk,” he said.

Drilon said more than half of CLMMRH patients are from Bacolod City, the local government should hire more doctors to attend to its residents at barangay health centers and its Respiratory Outpatient Center at the BAYS Center.

Drilon also stressed the need for government medical facilities in the province to attend to patients at their level before sending them to the already overcrowded CLMMRH.


Ma. Carmela Gensoli, Bacolod City Health officer, in an earlier interview said Bacolod barangay health centers are operational and attending to the needs of patients, too.

She pointed out that they have also been overloaded with work, and are multi-tasking, with the COVID -19 pandemic.

On top of their regular functions, they have had to assign health personnel to quarantine centers and hotels where returning Bacolod residents and overseas Filipino workers are being housed, she said.*


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