Let me be clear. I wrote this #JuanVoice blog post not to pull-down a certain medical clinic but to highlight the fact that there is always a room for improvement and that our seafarers and seafarer aspirants deserve nothing but fair, professional and quality service from any medical institution.
So let me share a personal experience of a seafarer friend, whom few days ago had approached me, talked about his medical examination and raked over the ashes.
My apology that I need to protect identities. In so doing, I’ll be using pseudonyms and in the recorded voice file I received, I altered the tone of voices before posting it here.
Marco, a former Costa crewmember and now part of Norwegian Cruise Lines, resides in Baguio City. I know him as a responsible and loving father of his family. Dreaming to go back to sea so he could provide a more comfortable life and a bright future for his family, he is persistent to complete all documentary requirements of his current employer.
Well, everything went fine… if only the conduct of Marco’s medical exam didn’t turn out to be a real can of worms.
Marco started his medical examination last January 30, 2017. He diligently submitted himself to Super-pa-care, a ‘famous’ medical screening clinic located in Ermita, Manila.
After completion of his medical exam, he went back to Baguio and waited for the result being posted by the clinic online.
But it was only in March 22, 2017 when he first observed that his medical exam was initially concluded. He opened Super-pa-care’s website to check his medical examination’s result and the status written was ‘ Temporarily Unfit’.
On March 23, 2017, 0600H, he had checked the said website again but was more surprised to see that his status was changed from ‘ Temporarily Unfit’ to ‘Pending’ due to ‘x-ray findings and pulmo clearance’. Thus, he’s recommended for ‘re-read c/o super-pa-care; for follow-up; clarification on clearance;’
The incident ignited our deep chat in Facebook. The guy asked me what to do.
“Call them and asked what happened. It might be a clerical error only.” I replied.
“I had been calling them several times already, sir but to no avail,” he said.
After some hours, however, Marco told me that he was finally able to contact Super-pa-care but they don’t have any explanation about why his ‘Fit’ status was changed to ‘Pending’, i.e. clerical error only. They didn’t extend even any apology and he was just instructed to go back and personally ‘close the case’.
From Baguio to Manila, one needs to endure more or less 6 hours of long drive. Aboard an air-conditioned bus, Marco is mindful of the kind of future he and his beloved ones deserve to enjoy. He knows that as long as he works hard at sea, they won’t be impoverished.
That moment in the City of Pines though, Marco was chilled by bigger challenges.
His savings were drained. He lent money from many relatives and friends already – all for his medical examination to be settled yet that time. He didn’t know where to run for angels to make both ends meet again.
Moreover, a strong “supa fear” incepts on his being. I can actually feel it vibrating even though I’m overseas.
He told me his game’s over.
“Why?” I asked.
“Ano na naman kayang sakit ang ialalagay nila sakin sir? I’m afraid of more horrible things they can do to me. So better to quit. Wala na akong pera sir, eh!” he bare his heart to me.
As a seafarer advocate, I asked some of my friends of their personal experience dealing with and/or what they think of Super-pa-care, a leading medical screening clinic for seafarers. Though the stigma wasn’t new to me, I was still surprised to receive these kinds of feedback from them:
“Yes, super-pa-care ako [nagpa-medical] at ang biruan na tawag naming lagi doon ay super cash…”
“Well halos naman lahat dumaan jan.. Di nga lang malala yung sa akin pero nag prepare na rin ako [ng pera] bago ako magpamedical. Iba-iba rin kasing case eh..”
“Pinayuhan kami ng HR about sa medical. Kasi daw baka iilan lang samin ang makaalis nadala na sila sa previous batch na halos wala sa kalahati ang nakaalis dahil sa medical. Ang sakit diba?”
“ Si Mr. Fernando Po nagback-out. Katatapos lang siya ng medical niya. Hinihingan daw siya ng 150k for surgery kasi di raw pwede ang laki ng pusod niya.”
“Hindi naman nila sinasabi na magbayad ka nalang pero yun bang they provide a good environment na kung saan, mukhang mapipilitan ang marino na isettle nalang kesa maubos pera niya sa byahe-byahe.”
” Maraming sinisirang career si supa-pa-care… At kawawa yung mga crew na papaalis na bibigyan pa ng sakit.”
I don’t want to hang someone’s clothes in public here but those statements helped me by far understand why Marco had almost abandoned his great dreams in life.
If one enters Super-pa-care’s premises to have his medical examination, he fears that he might get in trouble (especially if those allegations are true and he has no super cash to pay so to attain a “fit to work” status).
Apparently, there’s something wrong in Super-pa-care organization’s culture.
Unfortunately, aside from supa fear, supa cash is real.
In March 29, I was able to prove it upon receipt of a recorded voice file sent by a reliable source.
I choose not to attach it here yet because of unchecked legal repercussions.
But if you really want to listen on that particular ‘controversial’ chat, please fill-up form below. I may share it initially by sending you the downloadable link on email.
On the said recording, below select conversation made my heart bleed:
Doctor J interrogated Marco of his previous medical test & clearance conducted by a certain Dr. Taamayo.
Doctor J: Saang clinic yun?
Marco: Manila Doctors, Room 2*4.
Doctor J: Bakit ka pinaclearance?
Marco: Sabi kasi nila [Super-pa-care] dun sir, punta daw ako sa Manila Doctors. Sabi ko kanino pong doctor? Sabi niya kahit sinong nandun basta pulmo. Yun ang sabi sir…
Doctor J: Eh nagdoble bayad ka pa.
Marco: Yes sir, tas na-ultrasound pa’ko kasi sir eh..marelease ang ultrasound, siningil ako ng….
Doctor J: Linawin mo…
Marco: Siningil ako ng 2…5…2…5, sir eh..
Doctor J: Nino?
Marco: Ni Taamayo. [Super-pa-care’s nurse has referred Dr. Taamayo to Marco.]
Doctor J: Bakit 2, 5?
Marco: May clearance nadaw kasi sir. Tapos siningil niya pa ako ng 600.
Doctor J: Doctor’s fee yun?
Doctor J: ‘Nak ng p***… (Napamura si Doc)
Marco traveled back to Manila last March 28. He had arrived 0600H in Super-pa-care but was catered finally around 1500H in the clinic. He reported to follow-up his medical examination that day.
Evening comes. Marco had detailed more his case in our Facebook chat. He stated the following:
- Taamayo, who’s clinic is located on Room 2*4 of Manila Doctor’s Hospital, has made a mistake reading his x-ray result and was not even ‘kilala’ [known/accredited] by Super-pa-care. This was according to Super-pa-care during his serious inquiry about the dear doctor.
- For the record, Rowiwi, a Super-pa-care nurse made the referral of Dr. Taamayo since that particular day of Marco’s x-ray, no doctor was available to read the result. Marco then went to Manila Doctor’s Hospital in UN Avenue. Inside Dr. Taamayo’s clinic, he was informed by the good doctor that he’s chest was “pudpod”(worn-out). Additionally, an ultra-sound was made. He left the clinic upon paying a total of Php 4,700.00 for all services availed.
- Since Dr. Taamayo is not “kilala” by Super-pa-care, the medical clinic changed after a day his ‘Fit” to “Pending” medical result status (see above photo dated March 23). Marco then has advised to seek a new doctor to re-read his x-ray and perform a pulmonary test. Consequently, he was advised by Super-pa-care to go to University of Santo Tomas (UST) Hospital.
- Marco has no more supa cash to use in case the UST doctor would require him to undergo some more tests, just like what happened to him in Manila Doctors. He has to find again another angel in order to clear his ‘pending’ medical exam.
Early morning of March 29, Marco returned to Super-pa-care and got a #2 waiting number. Normally, Super-pa-care calls by number but he was skipped for unknown reason. Baffled, he sent me a message so I instructed him to approach the front desk and ask why he wasn’t called yet. He said that they’re even already attending person #30 during that time.
“Something’s wrong.” I said.
“Baka ine-edit pa sir yung sakit na ilalagay sa akin,” he jokingly replied.
After some hours, I learned from him that he managed to talk to the head doctor of Super-pa-care. He had heard the same doctor talked to Rowiwi, too.
“Sabi ni doctor kay Rowiwi, pag pulmonary daw wag mag-ulit ulit kasi pwede daw ako magpacheck-up sa iba at masisita sila.”
He’s endorsement to UST Hospital was then cancelled after the head doctor warned Rowiwi, but he was referred anew to a certain doctor who’s clinic can be found in Manila Medical Center.
Around 0400H Manila Time, I can feel a brimming hope from someone who fought hard for his medical exam to be dealt fairly with.
Marco reported that he and Doc J of Manila Medical Center had a good conversation. They just talked and there was no medical test conducted. Doctor J then had finally ended his almost ‘two-month old’ pending medical result.
Interestingly, you read their conversation above. Doctor J has shed some light to prove a claim that in Super-pa-care, there’s supa care and supa cash.
If only Rowiwi of Super-pa-care has been considerate of whom he refers to, Marco will not waste thousands of money, much more spend his precious time traveling from Baguio to Manila, and vice-versa.
I hope that Super-pa-care will give benefit of doubt to Marco’s case so they would be able to ameliorate their service offered to all seafarer clients.
Dear seafarers and seafarer aspirants, be very vigilant during the conduct of your medical examination. You might encounter people like Nurse Rowiwi and/or Dr. Taamayo.
Marco’s expenses burgeoned because of them. The innocent man should have used it to provide basic needs of his family.
“ Pambili pa sana ng gatas ng anak ko yun, sir.” He confided
I believe Super-pa-care is still true to its mission that they’re a reliable medical screening partner of many shipping agencies. If so, I challenge the whole organization to eradicate our supa fear and supa cash notions. Besides, your seafarer clients pay the right amount on time and they just deserve, I reiterate, nothing but fair, professional and quality service from you.
If you want to earn more, I believe it’s better to transform the Super-pa-care clinic into a super-to-care morgue. Dun po kayo manggipit sa patay,huwag sa mga katulad ni Marco na may mga pangarap sa buhay.
What’s your #JuanVoice on this issue?
Share your thoughts by writing a comment below.