Video scandal grips Cebu hospital
Man’s surgery posted on YouTube
CEBU CITY, Philippines – A Cebuano male florist in his 30s was teary-eyed when he saw the video of his surgery for the first time.
The emergency operation last January was already traumatic.
Having a spray can removed from his rectum after a night of sex with a stranger was something he regretted.
Danilo (not his real name) was horrified to see images of the surgery three months later circulating on the popular video-sharing website YouTube.
Danilo said he felt violated and would file charges against medical personnel at the government-owned Vicente Sotto Medical Memorial Center (VSMMC).
He said his rights to privacy and confidentiality were violated. He was also offended when he saw in the video how medical interns and workers jeered and laughed when the metal can of Black Suede body spray was pulled out of his rectum.
The can was inserted by a man he had casual sex with last New Year's Eve. Danilo said he was asleep when it happened.
“Mao nay confidential nga nikatag na man diay (This is what they called confidentiality when they spread it around),” lamented Danilo. “Mura man sila'g di mga graduhan oi. Sakto diay na? Gioperahan na gani ka, gisakitan ka, unya igo ra ka pistahan (They act as if they are not educated. Is this right? They operated on you, you were in pain then they feasted on you).”
Danilo said he had heard about the Black Suede Internet scandal but he never realized it was about him until Basak Pardo barangay (village) Captain Dave Tumulak showed him the video.
Cebu Daily News checked the video on YouTube, but the website said it had been pulled out.
Doctor Gerardo Aquino, VSMMC medical center chief, formed a committee last month to look into the violation of confidentiality after he heard about the video and without waiting for a complaint, said Dr. Emanuel Gines, the hospital's committee chairman on media.
“We believe that there was a break in the flow of procedure during the operation,” said Gines.
The investigation would determine who posted the video on the Internet and who should be held liable for the breach of operation procedure and confidentiality, said Gines.
He said results would be known this week.
He said the probe also aims to review hospital policy, especially since it was the first time that such an incident happened in the VSMMC.
Since there were nursing interns inside the operating room at that time, their schools had been informed about the investigation.
“I heard they were also conducting their own investigation,” said Gines.
Normally, only eight medical workers are allowed inside the operating room. But based on the video, there were more than eight inside the operating room.
The hospital does not take a video of all operations but only select cases for academic purposes, Gines said.
He stressed that this is done only when there is consent from the patient and that the record is treated with utmost confidentiality and with respect for the rights of the patient.
According to Danilo, his trauma started on December 31 last year when he met a man in the streets who offered to have sex with him for P100.
Danilo, who said he was drunk, brought the man home and had sexual intercourse with him.
But he recalled bruising the man's ego by criticizing the size of his sex organ.
Apparently challenged, the man told Danilo to have sex with him again, but this time using the canned body spray he found inside Danilo's room.
“Ingon ko di ko, unya nakabati na lang ko nga sakit (I said no, but later I felt something painful),” he said.
Danilo said he then fell asleep.
The man was gone when he woke up. Danilo said he felt something painful inside his body. It was even more painful when he tried to urinate.
He said he started to get scared when he remembered what the man last told him and when he could no longer find his body spray.
Danilo, however, decided not to inform his family so as not to ruin the New Year's celebration. He only came clean on January 2. His family then brought him to the hospital for a check-up.
When doctors discovered there was a foreign object in his body, Danilo said he noticed that the doctors and nurses kept asking him how it felt and why they had done it.
He was scheduled for operation the following day.
Danilo complained that there were too many people inside the operating room before he dozed off due to the anesthesia.
“Gayaw-yaw ko, oi. Naingon man ni’g Carbon, kadaghan ba sa tawo (I kept on complaining. I said it looked like Carbon market in there because there were so many people),” he said.
Danilo was discharged from the hospital January 5. He thought his trauma would end there but on January 18, he went back to the hospital to get his medical records.
A doctor then informed him that they had videotaped the operation and kept the body spray.
“Nangutana pa man gani to siya nako kung mangayo ba kuno ko'g copy, ingon ko dili (He asked me if I would ask for a copy and I said no),” said Danilo.
He said the doctor promised him the video and other records would be treated with confidentiality.
About two months later, Danilo said he was surprised that barangay captain Tumulak sought him out and showed him the video.
In the video, as the canister was being pulled out of his body, people inside the operating room were heard laughing while someone shouted “baby out, baby out...”
When the can was fully extracted, the same person screamed: “body spray” followed by laughter and jeers.
The cap was opened, then returned. Then the can was held up like a trophy before it was wrapped in surgical gauze.
Barangay captain Tumulak said he was willing to help Danilo press charges.
He said he recognized the operating room in the video because he had been in VSMMC before. That was when he started tracing the identity of the patient and was surprised to find the patient was a resident of his barangay.
On Monday, Tumulak wrote to Dr. Aquino, asking to change some hospital procedures to prevent a similar incident from happening again.
He said the posting of the video in the Internet violated several provisions of the Patients Bill of Rights, including the right to be free from unwarranted publicity and to good quality health care and professional standards.
While Danilo’s face was not seen on the video, Tumulak said his right to privacy was violated because many of his colleagues knew it was him. Because of the video, Danilo stopped mingling with his friends, he said.