“I cannot think of words that would describe or measure how painful it is to lose a child. Yanna is a big loss. She is the one bringing joy to our home. She is our life, I can say. She was our angel when she was still with us, and she will always be.”
These are the words of Remedios “Tutz” Salarda-Chan, mother of 10-year old Jannary “Yanna” Chan, who died recently after being turned away by a private hospital in Butuan City because she could not immediately produce P30,000 required by the hospital as a deposit.
In an exclusive interview yesterday, Remedios opened her heart to Manila Bulletin – expressing sorrow and pain.
Yanna, the younger of Tutz and her husband Gregory R. Chan III’s two children, was already diagnosed with congenital heart disease when she was six months old. The condition, however, did not stop her from having a happy childhood.
“Yanna is a happy child, so sweet, friendly, charming, thoughtful and generous to everyone,” Remedios said in describing her daughter. She added that Yanna has been brave and strong all throughout her short-lived life.
“She’s a brave child. Brave in the sense that she can endure all medical procedures, especially when she needed to be admitted and a series of laboratory tests had to be performed., such as getting blood samples every now and then, inserting intravenous lines aside from injections of high dosages of insulin four times a day plus taking a lot of medicines. How can a child sustain and endure all these pains and yet remain happy, smiling, witty, thoughtful, generous?” she shared.
Early this year, Yanna was also diagnosed of diabetes with renal complications.
Hospital and sorrow
Every time she hears the hospital’s name, the first word that comes into her mind is the word “sorrow.”
“Sorrow,” Tutz said. “Because it reminds [me] of the nightmare that happened to us on the night of July 15, 2014 that is causing us so much pain and sorrow right now.”
She recalls what happened that evening.
They were advised to transfer Yanna from the San Francisco Doctors Hospital in Agusan del Sur where she was confined since July 13 to a better-equipped facility due to the child’s emergency situation and critical condition.
“We travelled more than an hour in an ambulance accompanied by two nurses from San Francisco Doctors Hospital with medical certificates and a referral. We arrived at the Butuan Doctors Hospital around 8 p.m., and I rushed to the admission desk where I was turned away simply because my available cash on hand was only around P8, 000 to P10, 000 and they demanded for 30,000.” Tutz recalled.
“We pleaded to be admitted because of the emergency and Yanna’s critical condition, and it was beyond banking hours,” she said, adding that they explained to the woman at the admission desk that they can produce the remaining balance in a few hours when banks open.
The admitting clerk was far from moved and shot back at the child’s mother.
“Malayo sa 30,000 yang hawak mong cash! Wala ditong charity, private hospital kami (The amount of money you have right now is too small. There’s no charity here, we are private hospital!),”
Bent on getting medical attention her daughter desperately needed, Tutz continued to plead, stressing that Yanna’s condition is an emergency, to no avail.
The staff, she said, responded in Filipino: “That’s not an emergency! Emergency is when someone gets hit by a vehicle etc. You came from another hospital, you should’ve called us before leaving there to know how much you need to pay. You know that there must be a deposit before the patient can be admitted. And when in ICU, we need P30, 000 deposit, that’s our policy!”
“We had no choice but to travel again,” Tutz said.. “While on the way, we were constantly coordinating with the attending physicians of San Francisco Doctors. There was no other way but to go to a farther hospital. But before reaching the hospital in Davao City, my daughter passed away.”
Sweet ‘til her last moments
Yanna remained sweet and caring up to her last breath, Tutz remembered.
“Gasping for breath with an oxygen mask on, she said ‘Kain na mommy, kain na daddy! (Mommy, Daddy, let’s eat)’ She just keeps on calling me and her dad. No other words uttered, only “mommy” and “daddy.”
It was so painful for a mother to recall the scene of her daughter in her death bed.
“It was just too painful to see her not breathing anymore, eyes closed. When the physician confirmed that Yanna is gone, Yanna’s dad said in trembling voice “Lapitan natin si Yanna, magpaalam na tayo habang mainit pa siya.’
“Teary-eyed, we approached our dear child and gave her our last tight embrace. We felt unimaginable pain.”
“My other child, my husband and the rest of my family feel so much loneliness as I do. We used to hear Yanna’s voice, calling all our names. We talk to her all the time since she left us. I know time will heal the pain we are feeling right now. I just don’t know until when.”
Viral social network post
“When I wrote the letter and posted it,” Tutz disclosed, “all I wanted was to just expose Butuan Doctor’s Hospital, how they treated us and rejected my daughter in spite of her critical condition, so people in the region would be aware.”
She said she never thought the post would be shared more than a hundred thousand times.
“I thank my friends and their friends who shared my post [on Facebook],” she expressed.
“Even people I don’t know are trying to help sincerely in trying to seek justice for Yanna.”
“I have no message to the hospital,” she added. “What else am I supposed to tell them? My precious daughter is already dead.”
With visions and memories of her happy little angel in mind, Tutz sent out this emotional message to Yanna: “Miss na miss na kita anak. Sobrang mahal ka naming lahat.(I miss you a lot my child, we all love you so much), I am looking forward to be with you again in God’s time.”
By Charina Clarisse L. Echaluce
Published in Manila Bulletin newspaper, Agust 18, 2014