Ampatuan Sr. marks first month in Army hospital for manageable ailments

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/09 January) – Datu Andal Ampatuan, Sr., has been staying in the seaside Camp Panacan Station Hospital of the Eastern Mindanao Command here for exactly a month as of January 7, for various ailments that are manageable and do not necessarily require hospital confinement, among them tension headache, obesity and hemorrhoids. Ampatuan Sr., has been staying in a two-bed airconditioned room in this usually overpopulated 38-bed primary hospital whose mission, clearly stated and framed on the hospital wall, is “to provide quality health care services to military personnel, military dependents and authorized civilians under AOR (area of responsibility) of EastMinCom in support of the Command’s mandated mission.”

The EastMinCom’s spokesperson, Major Randolph Cabangbang, has released a seven-page medical bulletin from December 7 to January 3, 2010 that lists 11 ailments, three of them labeled “resolved.”

MindaNews asked Cabangbang why the signatory in the photocopy was not included but he said the bulletin’s signatory is the commanding officer of the hospital.
The medical bulletin lists the following under “present working impression:”
“1. Hypertension stage 2, fair control
“2. Hypertensive Cardiovascular Disease (LVH)
“3. COPD, not in acute exacerbation
“4. Hepatic Cirrhosis sec to NASH sec to Diabetes Mellitus and obesity with beginning esophageal varices (Child-Pugh Class A)
“5. Tension Headache with Migraine component.
“6. Diabetes mellitus tpe 2, obese, non-insulin requiring
“7. Internal Hemorrhoids grade 1
“8. Erosive gastritis
“9. Acute Gastroenteritis, resolved
“10. Allergic Bronchitis, resolved.
“11. Acute conjunctivitis, OU, resolved.”

COPD means Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease while NASH means Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. NASH “most commonly affects people who are middle-aged and obese” while smoking is a major cause of COPD.

On December 8, Ampatuan’s second hospital day in camp, the medical bulletin stated that “standby oxygen was placed outside the patient’s room as safety precaution because patient cannot quit smoking.”

Sources told MindaNews Ampatuan Sr. was discovered on several occasions to have been smoking inside his airconditioned room in the no-smoking hospital. The camp itself had, just shortly before the November 23 massacre in Ampatuan, Maguindanao, become a “no-smoking camp.”

The patriarch reportedly argued he would die if he can’t smoke.

“Does the room still smell of cigarettes?” MindaNews asked Lt. Mario Angelo Tejano, the attending physician when MindaNews visited the hospital late afternoon of January 7.

Tejano acknowledged having smelled cigarette smoke in Ampatuan’s room within the period of his confinement. “Medyo amoy” (Somehow smelled) but said “lately wala na” (lately no more).

He said they continue to monitor the patient’s blood sugar and blood pressure.

He said Ampatuan Sr.’s condition is stable but a day earlier, he developed some rashes after eating shrimps. Tejano said Ampatuan Sr. narrated it was the first time he suffered allergies after eating shrimps.

Cabangbang said Ampatuan Sr. is still in their camp because the Department of Justice which tasked the EastMinCom to be Ampatuan’s custodian, has not revoked the order.

Ampatuan was “arrested” (“invited” according to Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita) at around 1:30 a.m. on December 5, a few hours after martial law was declared, in his mansion in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao. He was told he would be brought to the EastMinCom camp in Davao City, some 290 kilometers away via Cotabato City or via General Santos City 260 kilometers away. (A shorter way is through Isulan but this would pass through Buluan, base of the Mangudadatus).

In Davao City, however, Ampatuan complained of chest pains and was brought to the Davao Doctors’ Hospital, the premier private hospital in the city, instead of directly to the camp hospital 12 kilometers away. But after several tests, he was given a cardio clearance for transfer to the camp hospital. He was fetched by military operatives from Davao Doctors nearly midnight December 6 and brought to the camp hospital in the early hours of December 7.

Although the 68-year old patient complained of sore eyes on December 12 and was treated for that, the medical bulletin recorded “no chest pain. No difficulty of breathing. No abdominal pain.” The same condition of “no chest pain…” was recorded from December 13 to 28.

Ampatuan, Sr. was “bothered by his BP of 110/60” on December 29, “hence his private MD requested that a 12-L ECG be done. This came out normal.”

Like the December 13 to 28 notation, the same condition of “no chest pain. No difficulty of breathing. No abdominal pain” was recorded on December 30 to January 3.

But Ampatuan’s “private MD,” not identified in the bulletin, claimed on December 27 the former Maguindanao governor’s weight has dropped by “more than 10 kgs.”

“Allegedly, patient’s weight upon their (sic) admission at Davao Doctors Hospital was 90 kgs. However, at present, patient’s weight was noted at 80 kgs. Weight monitoring was therefore ordered done OD. Patient was noted to have no chest pain, no difficulty of breathing, no abdominal pain. BP ranged from 130-150/70-180 mmHg. Temperature: 36.4 C. PR: not recorded. RR: not recorded,” the medical bulletin read.

On December 28, “patient refused to have CBC (complete blood count) done although private MD suggested that ABG, electrolyts and blood chemistry be done due to the abrupt weight loss as they claim. Patient’s weight today was noted at 77.5 kg. On the other hand, patient was noted to have no chest pain, no difficulty of breathing, no abdominal pain.”

The hospital entrance faces the parade grounds of the camp where a garden ten had been set up to accommodate relatives and lawyers waiting for their turn to visit Ampatuan.

Ampatuan is accompanied in his room by at least two relatives. He has lawyers available to him on a 24/7 basis.

Ampatuan has access to a mobile phone through his relatives or lawyers, Cabangbang said.

Even EastMincomChief Lt. Gen. Raymundo Ferrer himself told reporters he got a call from Ampatuan, Sr. seeking his help. (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)