PAO links doctor’s death to Dengvaxia, files 31st complaint

MANILA, Philippines – The Public Attorney’s Office filed its 31st Dengvaxia-related complaint before the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday, January 24, this time over a death of a public physician that PAO believed to be linked to the anti-dengue vaccine.

Dr Kendrick Gotoc died on April 22, 2018, with his death certificate stating septic shock as immediate cause of death, community-acquired pneumonia as antecedent cause, and diabetes mellitus and hyperthyroidism as the underlying cause.

Gotoc was 39.

Gotoc’s mother Norma believes her son’s death is linked to Dengvaxia. 

The Department of Health (DOH) and several vaccine experts have insisted that there were no proven links between Dengvaxia and the reported deaths. Anomalies in the vaccine procurement during the Aquino administration are being tackled both at the DOJ and the Office of the Ombudsman.

In its 91-page complaint filed before the DOJ on Thursday, the PAO wants to charge the DOH leadership of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide, torture, as well as graft. The respondents include Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and former health secretary Janette Garin.

The complaint does not mention when Gotoc was administered with Dengvaxia, but physician Francis Cruz – a vocal anti-Dengvaxia crusader – told reporters covering at the DOJ that it was sometime in 2016.

Gotoc received the vaccine as a public doctor for the Quezon City local government, said his sister Cristina. 

“Siya po ay dating Quezon City Health Department physician, bakit kailangang bakunahan ang mga doktor e ang target e 9 years old? Kasi nilangaw sila eh, mas importante po sa DOH na itulak ang bakuna kaysa kalusugan ng mga nabakunahan,” said Cruz.

(He was a former physician of the Quezon City Health Department, why did they have to vaccinate doctors when the target was 9 year olds? Because their project was a flop, it was more important for the DOH to push for the vaccine rather than the health of those they were vaccinating.)

The family noticed that Gotoc lost weight in December 2017.

“Dr Kendrick answered that he frequently experiences head and stomach ache, palpitation, sleepiness, and loss of appetite. In addition, complainant saw rashes on Dr Kendrick’s hands,” said the complaint.

All 31 complaints filed by PAO Chief Persida Acosta are still undergoing preliminary investigation at the DOJ. – Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.

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