Certificate of COVID recovery comes 40 days after man dies

CEBU, Philippines —  On the 40th day of the traditional prayer for the dead, the family of a 72-year-man in Barangay Kamputhaw, Cebu City who passed away on May 30, 2020 received a certification from the city government that he had recovered from COVID-19.

The development shocked, surprised, and confused the family of Fructoso Mabatid because the certification opened wounds of the past 40 days – from Mabatid’s death to the family getting isolated for fear the old man may have been infected them with COVID-19.

“This is to certify that Fructoso Gacasan Mabatid, a resident of Kamputhaw, Cebu City, has completed the mandatory quarantine period of a Covid 19 case. As per Covid 19 protocol: Department Memorandum no.2020-0229 ‘Revised criteria for Discharged and Recovered for Covid 19 cases,’ the patient is declared as CLINICALLY RECOVERED,” the certification reads.

The certificate was dated July 3 but was delivered to the family only on July 11.

Mabatid’s granddaughter, Stephanie, told The Freeman that the certification confused them because they also hold a copy of a death certificate, which says Mabatid had died of acute respiratory failure type 1.

It was on May 28 that Mabatid was brought to the hospital after he complained of difficulty in breathing, two days after he experienced fever. He ended up at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center after two other hospitals refused to admit him.

Early morning on May 30, he passed away and was buried immediately.

“Giingnan mis doctor nga namatay na akong lolo, but dili na namo siya makita kay nasagol na ra ba siya sa mga naay COVID and basin positive sad siya so kinahanglan ilubong dayon. Wa gani mi kaduol kay dili pwede. Gilubong siya sa Carreta,” Stephanie said.


(The doctor told us he died but we could not see him because he was with other patients who had COVID. He may have been infected so he had to be buried right away. We were not able to go near him. He was buried in Carreta.)

Stephanie and 19 others had to be swabbed and isolated until they received their results on June 15. All of them tested negative but were unable to work in those days they had to wait for the test result.

Mabatid was also swabbed but result of his test was reportedly never released, which was why the certification that came on July 11 confused the family.

“Maayo gud unta kung buhi gyud akong lolo. Ang problema, asa na siya karon? (It would have been good if my grandfather was really alive, but where is he now?)” Stephanie said.

As it turned out, the certification was a result of a discrepancy in the city’s records and a representative of the barangay and the City Health Department have apologized to the family for the mix-up. They also confirmed that Mabatid had passed away.

Mabatid’s family urged the city to double check and verify so that the incident will not happen again. They also asked for consideration for the harsh words they have posted on social media about the incident.

“Sorry pud ninyo kung naa mi na storya nga bati kay di lalim sa among naagian ron pero kasabot mi ninyo kay dili lalim inyo trabaho pero mao unta ni inyo lection nga dili gyud mo pa dali dali og print out kung dili ninyo i-verify daan kay lisod kaayo sa part namo nga mag-expect na sad mi balik nga buhi pa among lolo, kay wala biya gyud mi na kakita sukad na-admit siya nya nalubong siya dayon,” Stephanie said.

(We are sorry if we said anything bad because what we went through wasn’t easy… we understand that your work is not easy but we hope this will be a lesson for you to verify ahead because it was not easy on our part to be expecting that he may have been still alive… we never saw him up to when he was buried.)

“Thank you sa inyo pag-ari og nangayo namo og sorry namo, at least mahimotang na gyud mi sa among huna-huna nga wala na gyud among Lolo,” Stephanie said.

(Thank you for coming to us and for apologizing. At least, we will be at peace knowing he had truly moved on.)

Last, July 6, the City Health Department announced on Facebook that it will no longer be posting daily updates on COVID-19 cases in the city while data with other health departments are still being harmonized. JMO (FREEMAN)




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