Doctors from the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) decided to take a mass leave of absence starting March 29, 2010, to express their anger and dismay over the removal from office of PGH Director Dr. Jose C. Gonzales and to protest the lack of democratic process in selecting its director. Because the matter has been brought to the courts which is yet to decide on it, the doctors also chose to go on mass leave to protects them “from following orders from a de facto PGH Director.”
On February 25, 2010 upon orders from the University of the Philippines’ Board of Regents, Dr. Gonzales was replaced by Dr. Enrique Domingo. On March 2, 2010 the College Council of the UP College of Medicine whose membership represents the majority of doctors and faculty members of PGH, approved a resolution (with a vote of 199 to 19) recognizing Dr. Jose Gonzales as the duly appointed director of PGH until December 2012.
In a statement, the doctors assured the public that they will not neglect the care of the critically ill and emergent conditions, but will however, have to defer outpatient consultations, elective surgical procedures and non-essential administrative functions.
They also call on medical students, resident trainees, other physicians, health professionals and health workers, for support in demonstrating “what it means to uphold and enflesh the noble traditions we cherish and the timeless principles we value,” and “for introspection, reflection and realization that we share a common situation, and that we are challenged to make a common stand in conscience and with conviction.”
The UP-PGH community has been conducting a series of protest actions since February. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Iggy Agbayani)