Officials deny hospital source of media ‘leak’

It started with this report that recording artist Joel Mendoza was planning on suing Victor R. Potenciano Medical Center for releasing his personal information, including his address, to the media. Mendoza had reportedly been the victim of a violent robbery attack. Although police had identified two suspects in the attack, they had not been arrested at the time of the February 23 news story:

According to Mendoza, he was “100 percent” sure the hospital was source of the information published by the tabloids, as a check of the hospital admission form showed that the error made in the spelling of his building’s name there was the same one that was made by the tabloids.

“Was that a coincidence? Now you tell me,” Mendoza said.

He added the media could not have gotten the information from the police, since the reports were published even before investigators obtained his personal information from him.

According to Mendoza, as a result of the disclosure, he and his driver cannot help but fear for their lives, considering the fact that the suspects are still at large.

Now the hospital is striking back, to defend its reputation. In a letter to the editor in today’s Philippine Daily Inquirer, hospital spokespeople write:

We categorically deny Joel Mendoza’s allegation that we leaked personal information on his confinement in our hospital to media. While we normally do not argue with our patients regarding their complaints about our services, we have to make this denial in the interest of fairness and truth.


Mendoza’s claim that we were the source of the leakage “100 percent” is baseless. It is on record that as early as Feb. 19, 2013, at around 9:30 a.m., Raflores had given his statement to police investigators. Immediately, thereafter, while in the police precinct of Mandaluyong City, Raflores was interviewed by media. His sworn statement shows he used the personal address of Mendoza. Hence, Mendoza’s claim that media could not have gotten the information from the police, since the reports were published even before investigators obtained his personal information, does not hold water.

Lastly, Mendoza alleged that a spelling error in the name of his building address in his hospital admission form could be found in a tabloid reporter’s record; this, according to Mendoza, could not just be a mere coincidence. We have carefully checked the entries in our hospital admission sheet; we found no such misspelling.

Read more on Philippine Daily Inquirer.

We saw what happened here in the U.S. when Prime Health and Shasta Regional Medical Center took to the media to respond to a patient’s statements – they got fined for violating California’s medical confidentiality law, and the case is still under investigation by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. I wonder whether this hospital is permitted to defend its reputation this way. Would this be deemed a violation of the patient’s rights under the  Philippine Medical Association Declaration on the Rights and Obligations of the Patient (Section 9) or would this be viewed as a case of a patient having violated the provisions on “Obligation to Respect the Rights of Health Institutions” and the obligation to pursue mediation.

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