Petitioner Dr. Leandro Carillo, an anesthesiologists, seeks review of the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated 28 November 1988, which affirmed his conviction by the Regional Trial Court of the crime of simple negligence resulting in homicide, for the death of his thirteen (13) year old patient Catherine Acosta.
The deceased, daughter of spouses Domingo and Yolanda Acosta, complained to her father of pains in the lower part of her abdomen. Catherine was then brought to Dr. Elva Peña. Dra. Peña called for Dr. Emilio Madrid and the latter examined Catherine Acosta. According to Dr. Madrid, his findings might be appendicitis. Then Dr. Peña told Catherine’s parents to bring the child to the hospital in Baclaran so that the child will be observed.
At the Baclaran General Hospital, a nurse took blood sample form the child. The findings became known in the afternoon and the child was scheduled for operation. When brought inside the operating room, the child was feeling very well and they did not subject the child to ECG (electrocardiogram) and X-ray.The appellant Dr. Emilio Madrid, a surgeon, operated on Catherine. He was assisted by appellant, Dr. Leandro Carillo, an anesthesiologists.
It has been established that the deceased was not weighed before the administration of anesthesia on her.
When Catherine remained unconscious until noontime the next day, a neurologist examined her and she was diagnosed as comatose. Three (3) days later, Catherine died without regaining consciousness.
The Court of Appeals held that Catherine had suffered from an overdose of, or an adverse reaction to, anaesthesia, leading to her death.
The Court of Appeals found criminal negligence on the part of petitioner Dr.Carillo and his co-accused Dr. Madrid, holding that both had failed to observe the required standard of diligence in the examination of Catherine prior to the actual administration of anaesthesia.
Whether or not Dr.Carillo is guilty of the crime of simple negligence resulting in homicide.
Yes. Simple negligence, penalized under what is now Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code,is defined as “a mere lack of prevision in a situation where either the threatened harm is not immediate or the danger not openly visible.” Put in a slightly different way, the gravamen of the offense of simple negligence is the failure to exercise the diligence necessitated or called for the situation which was not immediately life-destructive but which culminated, in the present case, in the death of a human being three (3) days later.
In the case at bar, the Court considered that the chain of circumstances above noted, namely: (1) the failure of petitioner and Dr. Madrid to appreciate the serious post-surgery condition of their patient and to monitor her condition and provide close patient care to her; (2) the summons of petitioner by Dr. Madrid and the cardiologist after the patient’s heart attack on the very evening that the surgery was completed; (3) the low level of care and diligence exhibited by petitioner in failing to correct Dr. Madrid’s prescription of Nubain for post-operative pain; (4) the extraordinary failure or refusal of petitioner and Dr. Madrid to inform the parents of Catherine Acosta of her true condition after surgery, in disregard of the requirements of the Code of Medical Ethics; and (5) the failure of petitioner and Dr. Madrid to prove that they had in fact exercised the necessary and appropriate degree of care and diligence to prevent the sudden decline in the condition of Catherine Acosta and her death three (3) days later, leads the Court to the conclusion, with moral certainty, that petitioner and Dr. Madrid were guilty of simple negligence resulting in homicide.