Sun. Aug 1st, 2021

MANILA – Saying public health and safety have already outweighed individual rights, a group of lawyers and doctors are appealing to victims of the coronavirus to waive their right to patient privacy.

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), which is made up of lawyers in the country, and two medical organizations claimed COVID-19 patients and persons under investigation (PUI) if possible to waive their right to patient privacy to help concerned agencies like the Department of Health (DOH) in contact tracing efforts and foremost, stem the spread of the disease.

IBP national president Domingo Egon Cayosa, along with Philippine Medical Association (PMA) president Jose Santiago Jr. and Philippine College of Surgeons (PCS) president Jose Antonio Salud, said in their one-page statement that the pressing demands of public health and safety have now outweighed individual rights.

“We earnestly request that COVID-19 patients or PUIs voluntarily waive the confidentiality of their medical condition and forthrightly inform those they have been in close contact with; that the government, particularly the DOH, prudently use and promptly share medical information to enable all concerned authorities, institutions and persons to effectively take precautionary and remedial measures,” they said.

Since Day 1, the DOH and health workers have been careful holding back identities of COVID-19 patients seeking treatment or admission in clinics and hospitals.

Many refuses even to divulge their true condition, travel history and they risk infecting these health institutions and their health workers.

Hence, physicians suffer the brunt of getting exposed to patients who recently travelled to COVID-hit countries. It also becomes difficult for government to conduct timely, adequate and complete contact tracing.

Lastly, it would be difficult to determine how many virus carriers may have multiplied because they were not properly tested, quarantined, isolated or treated, the group said. (ia/

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