Yeng Constantino is latest celebrity to have medical emergency in Siargao

July 25, 2019 - 3:58 PM
Siargao Circumferential Road
A waterway on Siargao Island as seen from a road. (Eibner Saliba via Unsplash)

Testimonies from the colleagues of the doctor whom pop diva Yeng Constantino accused of medical malpractice showed the overall need to improve the health facilities in Siargao, a top surfing destination flocked by daredevils and risk takers.

Constantino previously uploaded a video on YouTube and shared a lengthy Facebook post about her experience when her husband Yan Asuncion figured in an accident.

Aside from expressing her dismay with the limited health services, she also alleged that Dr. Esterlina Tan lacked urgency in doing her job.

Rep. Bingo Matugas (Surigao Del Norte 1st District), who was initially apologetic, shared a post of another doctor who shed light on the incident.

Dr. Benedict Valdez of Southern Philippines Medical Center said that Tan took tests for Asuncion even outside protocol as assurance for Constantino.

Sharing the post of Dr. Benedict Valdez of Southern Philippines Medical Center who is an expert in handling major trauma…

Posted by Cong Bingo Matugas on Monday, July 22, 2019


Valdez said Tan conducted an Extended Focused Assessment in Sonography for Trauma or EFAST and used an infrascanner to diagnose Asuncion’s condition based on the vlog.

An infrascanner is a portable brain scanner to diagnose head injuries while the EFAST is performed to examine abdominal or chest trauma.

“In this particular story, was there any issue of malpractice? What I’ve noticed are responsive health care people wanted to help a risk taker who got injured and who knows the price of that,” Valdez said.

The Philippine Medical Association also expressed its support for Tan and even commended how she handled Constantino and Asuncion’s case.

“Her extra effort to study how to operate an Infra Scanner, a new modality in her area, to ensure that Ms. Yeng Costantino’s husband does not suffer from any intra-cerebral hemorrhage which may be obtained from cliff diving, is also admirable,” the organization said.

“The Philippine Medical Association will not allow its members to be subjected to unnecessary shaming while doing their duties, which is to save lives,” it added.

Testimonies from witnesses

Some of Dr. Tan’s colleagues shared online their testimonies on what happened that day.

One story tells that the incident happened last June and that the couple was still able to enjoy their vacation in Siargao for four days before heading back to Manila.

Another testimony from a medicine student narrated on a Twitter thread claimed that Tan was sufficiently attending to Asuncionand questioned the need for Constantino to record the event on video.

“Isa pa po, hindi kayo nagpaalam sa amin na ivovlog ninyo kami pero isinama niyo kami sa video na pinost niyo. Diko po inakala na nakuha niyo pa palang magvlog habang nandoon tayo sa loob ng xray room kahit na sabi niyo ay grabe ang pagaalala ninyo,” user @cesmsantos said.

Siargao’s poor medical facilities: Celebrities’ experiences

Matugas recognized the need to improve the health sector of Siargao, given its popularity among local and foreign tourists.

He assured the public that he already filed a proposed measure to upgrade the Siargao District Hospital, the island’s public hospital, into a level 3 word-class hospital.

In the meantime, the lawmaker requested people to prevent publicly shaming his constituents.

“This is a good time to remind everyone that any public and malicious imputation of a crime, vice or defect, whether it is real or not, as long as it tends to cause dishonor, discredit or contempt against a person is considered libel,” Matugas said.

Constantino was the latest celebrity who made headlines over her criticisms on the state of Siargao’s health services.

In 2018, broadcast journalist Karen Davila decried the same matter, along with perceived indifferent trainers and resort owners, when her husband and son also figured in a surfing accident.

Early this 2019, Kelsey Merritt also lamented the lack of hospitals in the island when her boyfriend Olympian Conor Dwyer sustained a head injury while surfing.