Alano vs Logmao (GR No. 175540 April 7, 2014)

Alano vs Magud-Logmao
GR No. 1755540 April 7, 2014

Facts: At around 9:50pm of March 1, 1988, Arnelito Logmao then 18 y/o, was brought to the East Avenue Medical Center (EAMC) in Quezon City by two sidewalk vendors, who allegedly saw the former fall from the overpass near the Farmer’s Market in Cubao, Quezon City. The patient’s data sheet identified the patient as Angelito Lugmoso of Boni Ave., Mandaluyong. However, the clinical abstract prepared by Dr. Paterno F. Cabrera, the surgical resident on-duty at the emergency room of EAMC, stated the patient is Angelito Logmao. Dr. Cabrera reported that Logmao was drowsy with alcoholic breath, was conscious and coherent; that the skull x-ray showed no fracture; that at around 4:30am of March 2, 1988, Logmao developed generalized seizures and was managed by the neuro-surgeon resident on-duty; that the condition of Logmao progressively deteriorated and he was intubated and ambu-bagging support was provided; that admission to the ICU and mechanical ventilation support became necessary, but there was no vacancy at the ICU and all the ventilation units were being used by other patients; that a resident physician of NKTI, who was rotating at EAMC, suggested that Logmao be transferred to NKTI; and that after arrangements were made, Logamo was transferred to NKTI at 10:10am. At the NKTI, the name Angelito Logmao was recorded as Angelito Lugmoso. Lugmoso was immediately attended to and given the necessary medical treatment. As Lugmoso had no relatives around, Jennifer Misa, transplant coordinator was asked to locate his family by enlisting police and media assistance. Dr. Enrique Ona, chairman of the Department of Surgery, observed that severity of the brain injury of Lugmoso manifested symptoms of brain death. He requested the laboratory section to conduct tissue typing and tissue cross-matching examination, so that should Lugmoso expire despite the necessary care and medical management and he would be found to be a suitable organ donor and his family would consent to organ donation, the organs thus donated could be detached and transplanted promptly to any compatible beneficiary. The identity of Lugmoso was verified by Misa from EAMC and she was furnished the patient’s data sheet. She then contacted several radio and television stations to request for air time for the purpose of locating the family of Angelito Lugmoso of Boni Ave., Mandaluyong who was confined at NKTI with severe head injury after allegedly falling from the Cubao overpass, as well as police station no. 5 Eastern Police District. Lugmoso was pronounced brain dead on March 3, 1988 7:00am. Two hours later, Dr. Ona was informed that EEG recording exhibited a flat tracing thereby confirming his brain death. He was found to be a suitable donor of the heart, kidneys, pancreas, and liver, and after the extensive search, no relatives were found. Dr. Ona then requested the removal of the specific organs of Lugmoso from the herein petitioners, Dr. Alano, the director of NKTI who thereafter issued a memorandum stating that only after the requirements of RA 349 as amended by PD 856 was complied, they can remove the specified organs of Lugmoso. Lugmoso’s remains was brought at La Funeraria Oro. A press release made by NKTI announcing a double organ transplant led to the findings of the relatives of Lugmoso.

Issue: Whether or not the removal of Lugmoso’s organs were valid.

Held: Yes. The internal organs of the deceased were removed only after he had been declared brain dead; thus the emotional pain suffered by respondent due to the death of her son cannot be in any way be attributed to petitioner. Neither can the court find evidence or second to show that respondent’s emotional suffering at the sight of the pitful state in which she found her son’s lifeless body be categorically attributed to petitioner’s conduct.

Thus, there can be no cavil that petitioners employed reasonable means to disseminate notifications intended to reach the relatives of the deceased. The only question that remains pertains to the sufficiency of time allotted for notices to reach the relatives of the deceased.

If respondent failed to immediately receive notice of her son’s death because the notices did not properly state the name or identity of the deceased, fault cannot be laid at petitioner’s door. The trial and appellate courts found that it was the EAMC, who recorded the wrong information regarding the deceased’s identity to NKTI. The NKTI could not have obtained the information about his name from the patient, because as found by the lower courts, the deceased was already unconscious by the time he was brought to NKTI.

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