PH: Tuburan, Sotto hospital incidents: Publicizing video is the offense

Pachico A. Seares reports:

WHEN Dr. Wyben Briones owned up the profession’s mantra of confidentiality to news reporters more than 10 years ago, the local medical community was stung with the embarrassment over the “rectum canister scandal.”

A video clip was passed from phone to phone and uploaded on YouTube, showing doctors and nurses at the operating room of Vicente Sotto Medical Center in Cebu City laughing “boisterously” as a surgeon removed a perfume canister from the rectum of a homosexual. Breach of the male patient’s privacy was clear even though his face was not shown. His plight was announced to the world as news outlets across the globe picked up the story.

Last Feb. 8, in the Tuburan, Cebu district hospital, while a patient howled, bloodied from multiple gunshots, a nurse took a video of his agony and passed on the clip to three other nurses who circulated it on social media. Another breach of the patient’s privacy, though the story had less human interest and didn’t make it to the world press.


The Tuburan hospital chief cited the Data Privacy Act of 2012 (Republic Act 10173). The law refers to disclosure in the “processing of sensitive and personal information” and the personal information includes “health and sexual life” of the patient.

But “processing” of information that doctors and nurses do rarely includes photo-taking and video recording. The Tuburan chief of hospital even said he bans phones when personnel are on duty. They don’t need to take photo or video while treating the patient. Without the images, doctors and nurses wouldn’t have to resist social media’s temptation to break one “core duty”: confidentiality.

Read more on SunStar. I’ve deleted the portion of the reporting that reveals what the consequences were to staff for these breaches.  Think about what you think the consequences should have been, and then go read the rest of the story to see what actually happened.

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