The Hippocratic Oath
mandates physicians to
give priority to the health
and welfare of their patients. If a doctor fails, he
is made accountable for his
acts. A mistake, through
gross negligence or incompetence or plain human error, may spell the difference
between life and death. In
this sense, the doctor plays God on his patient’s fate.
In ROGELIO E. RAMOS
and ERLINDA RAMOS v.
COURT OF APPEALS, DELOS SANTOS MEDICAL
CENTER, DR. ORLINO
HOSAKA and DRA. PERFECTA GUTIERREZ, G.R.
No. 124354. December 29,
1999 the High Tribunal
has reminded the Medical
Practitioners the Hippocratic Oath.
Erlinda Ramos was, until the afternoon of June 17,
1985, a 47-year-old robust
woman except for occasional complaints of discomfort due to pains allegedly
caused by the presence of a
stone in her gall bladder.
She sought professional advice and was advised
to undergo an operation
for the removal of a stone
in her gall bladder. She underwent a series of examinations which indicated
she was fit for surgery.
They were referred to Dr. Orlino Hosaka. They
soon agreed to be operated
on June on June 17, 1985 at
9:00 A.M. Dr. Hosaka decided that she should undergo a “cholecystectomy”
operation after examining
the documents presented
to him. Rogelio E. Ramos,
however, asked Dr. Hosaka
to look for a good anesthesiologist. Dr. Hosaka, in
turn, assured Rogelio that
he will get a good anesthesiologist. After agreeing
on the professional fee of
the doctors they proceeded
with the operation schedule.
A day before the scheduled date of operation, she
was admitted at one of the
rooms of the DLSMC, located along E. Rodriguez
Avenue, Quezon City. However, something happened
during the operation that
complicates the surgery of
Dr. Hosaka informed
Rogelio Ramos that something went wrong during
the intubation. Doctors
Gutierrez and Hosaka were
also asked by the hospital
to explain what happened
to the patient. The doctors
explained that the patient
had bronchospasm. Erlinda Ramos stayed at the ICU
for a month. On November
15, 1985, the patient was
released from the hospital
On 8 January 1986, petitioners filed a civil case
six for damages with the
Regional Trial Court of
Quezon City against herein
private respondents alleging negligence in the management and care of Erlinda Ramos.
The Court of Appeals
ruled in favor of the plaintiff and held responsible
Dr. Hosaka, the anesthesiologist Dr. Gutierez and
the Hospital. The respondents raised the matter to the High Court.
The Supreme Court applied the Latin maxim RES
IPSA LOQUITOR which
means “the thing or the
transaction speaks for itself.” The phrase is a maxim
for the rule that the fact of
the occurrence of an injury,
taken with the surrounding
circumstances, may permit an inference or raise a
presumption of negligence.
This makes out a plaintiff’s
prima facie case and for the
defendant to explain. It affords reasonable evidence,
in the absence of explanation by the defendant, that
the accident arose from or
was caused by the defendant’s want of care.
In ruling this case the
court found that the respondent is wanting of care
and management in the
medical of ERLINDA RAMOS hence was held liable.
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