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Labor group mourns death of ‘doctor to the barrios’

By Chito Chavez

Militant labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) on Sunday mourned the death of Dr. Israel Bactol, 34, after being infected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) virus from his patient.



Bactol is a “doctor to the barrios” who earned his medical degree from scholarships.

Doctors, health personnel and even patients have already started a fund drive to help the family of Bactol in Penaranda, Nueva Ecija defray his funeral expenses.

The medical community has been dismayed by the fact that the patient did not reveal his medical history to Bactol correctly, and thus, failed to help the doctor diagnose him and provide the right intervention.

KMU expressed its sincerest sympathies to the family and loved ones of Dr. Bactol.

“We salute the young doctor and all health workers in the front lines who risk their health and safety to save lives,” it added.

“We also mourn the deaths of 24 other Filipinos due to COVID-19. We hope for the speedy recovery of 307 patients and of those who are now ill but unable to access testing and treatment,” KMU stressed.

“The slow testing of persons under investigation (PUIs) contributes to the rising number of new infections and COVID-19-related deaths. Many of the PUIs have died prior to the result of their COVID-19 tests. Many deaths, such as that of the young doctor, could have been avoided if there was early detection,” the national labor center argued.

“Sending front liners without appropriate medical protection and immediate access to testing and treatment is gross negligence on the part of Duterte government. Access to medical testing and treatment is the people’s right, not a privilege of the few government officials and elite families,” KMU explained.

Source: Manila Bulletin

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