Thursday, November 06, 2008

Murphy's Law in My Life (2008 Nov 07)

Since my last post a month ago, a lot of things have happened to me. We had final exams for the first semester at Ateneo de Manila University, and I had to struggle through grading my students' exam papers. I accompanied the Ateneo programming team to the ACM-ICPC Asia-Jakarta regional programming contest, where we came out at rank 19 among 49 teams of collegiate programmers, our most dismal performance in a regional contest since year 2000. I got hospitalized in Medical City for four days in October 22-26, as soon as we arrived in Manila from Jakarta, for severe allergy to Flucloxacillin and Cefuroxime. I had diabetic foot infection, and Dr. Tongson of Capitol Medical Center prescribed Flucloxacillin when I told him that I did not have any allergy to antibiotics (which is the truth at that time in my life). Fluxcloxacillin is so new and as yet untried by me, and I did not know that I would have such severe reaction to it. When I showed Dr. Tongson allergic rashes on the upper surface of my hand, he immediately changed my antibiotic to Cefuroxime, another antibiotic that is so new and untried by me. The Cefuroxime only aggravated my allergy, and I did not know what to do except to write emails to Dr. Tongson, since we were already in Jakarta. I could not even buy the anti-allergy medicines that my wife was suggesting for two reasons: (1) I do not have a doctor's prescription since Dr. Tongson did not check his emails. (2) Even if I produce a fake doctor's prescription, I do not know how to get the prescription filled in Jakarta. I had to wait until we got back to Manila before my allergy could be treated. Since Medical City was the closest to where I live, in Antipolo ibaba, near Sta Lucia mall, my wife decided to bring me there for consultation. The emergency room doctor recommended confinement to rule out Steven-Johnson syndrome (sounds like Murphy's Out-of-Luck Syndrome). Dr. Kasala, endrocrinologist-diabetologist, and wife Dra. Kasala, allergologist (I did not even know that such specializations existed, foot-diabetologist?) eventually ruled out Steven-Johnson syndrome. I was given intramuscular injections of steriods until both left and right arms would not accept any more injections. I was given insulin to counter the increase in blood glucose that is a by product of steriod therapy. I was given isotonic intravenous drip where a host of other medicines were injected. My hospital confinement was the most unpleasurable four days of my entire life, and add to that the fact that the hospitalization cost me PHP37,000.00, after senior citizen discount. I had to pay this amount from my personal funds, since Ateneo took away my HMO card when I retired in 2006. Why is the Philippine HMO system and Ateneo so unfair that you are not entitled to HMO benefits when you need it most?

Why do Filipino doctors today prescribe the most expensive medicines, in a country (the Philippines) which sells the most expensive medicines in all of Asia? Do Filipino doctors and pharmaceutical companies have a conspiracy to kill patients by prescribing medicines that patients can not afford to buy? Dr. Tongson prescribed Flucloxacillin and Cefuroxime, probably the most expensive antibiotics in Manila. Dr. Kasala prescribed Actos 15mg, an antibiabetic pill that sells for about PHP188.00 each pill (the cost is so much it can kill you).

Now I believe in Murphy's Law, and it applies when you least expect it.

No comments: