“Not all heroes wear capes; many are in PPE suits.” This has been a resounding quote to honor the frontliners at the height of the pandemic in 2020.
Our president, Mrs. Virma Vergel de Dios, nailed it when she addressed the graduating resident-physicians of VRPMC this year. She quipped, “Not all heroes wear capes and fly in the air with their superpowers. The new heroes of the time are fully covered in PPE suits and hardly recognizable. They do not fly in the air with their superpowers, but they take their rounds in the patients’ isolation rooms to fight an invisible enemy, a dreadful infectious virus. They brave to risk their lives to treat their patients from the grim disease and to save their lives, one patient at a time. Our frontliners are the new live and active heroes in this time of COVID-19 pandemic.”
The cover story of Newscope features the COVID warriors of VRPMC. Dr. Ruth Doligon, Infectious Disease Specialist, heads the team, with Dr. Prescillano Zamora, Department Chair of Internal Medicine, and Dr. Bernadette Seludo, senior consultant and ID specialist. The COVID teams attending to COVID patients are usually composed of infectious disease specialists, pulmonologists, and other specialists as needed.
The nature of COVID-19 disease is multiorgan, and it was generally unknown to the doctors in the beginning. The ID and IM consultants needed the help of other specialty doctors. Hence, the formation of the COVID team of specialists from other clinical departments. Volunteer specialists from other departments joined the COVID team: Dr. Marinella Abat (OB-GYNE); Dr. Khamil Barretto (Pediatrics); Dr. Mon Vitug, Dr. Alfred Potenciano (Surgery); Dr. Geobert Uyquiengco (Surgery & protocols of OR-DR); Dr. Danilo Sacdalan (Radiology protocols); Dr. Rosanna Tungol and Dr. Ira How-Tan (Pathology); Dr. Alfredo Gatmaitan, Dr. Marilen Cruz (OMD protocols for employees). Other specialists also extended support to cover all areas and provide the needed help, including Dr. Svetlana Aycardo, who lent the Physical Medicine and Rehab for Pedia ER clean cases.
So there we go. For this issue of Newscope, we set to meet our COVID warriors from all departments for a pictorial. Guess what? They readily said yes! Even Dr. Joy Sto. Domingo, who at the time of the pictorial was in Los Angeles, USA, accommodated our request for her to send her photos in a doctor’s white coat and PPE suit. She is key to writing the ER Department protocols for COVID-19 cases, with Dr. Danilo Luchangco and Dr. Geobert Uyquiengco.
Behind their face masks and inside those PPE suits are happy and dedicated physicians of VRPMC. Our ever-ready and very accommodating COVID team of doctors gladly joined the pictorial for the cover story of the upcoming Anniversary edition of Newscope this year.
This pandemic has changed the way we do things, especially for our doctors. They made a lot of sacrifices for themselves and their families.
“The first couple of months was stressful and scary. We were not ready for it, and we did not know what to expect. Just being in the hospital would make you feel paranoid because of the fear that you might get Covid. This pandemic made me appreciate all the things that I have and realizing that it is enough. Life is simpler now. I miss traveling, though, but I know that can wait.” – Dr. Khamil Barretto, Training Committee Chair of Pediatrics Department.
Being an infectious disease doctor, I have to role-model to my colleague and family members. I always practice strict adherence to infection prevention protocol. Treating a patient in total isolation, alone, and far away from their relatives is the most challenging part of my daily rounds since it stretches my compassion for the patient. The most rewarding is every time we send home a recovered patient. – Dr. Ruth Doligon
There is a rainbow after the rain. The pandemic has taken so much from us, like family gatherings, travels, face-to-face meetings, and conferences. But we found ways to overcome this. We started with virtual meetings, get-togethers, Viber group chats and began sharing kinds of stuff by delivery service. It just takes a little patience, support, understanding, and love to get thru this crisis. We realized that despite the pandemic, there are so many things to be thankful for. It has taught us to love, listen, care, respect, and, most of all, help. This pandemic, too, shall pass.
I look forward to the day when we can look back to this time with a smile with so many stories to share. Kapit lang, we are all in this together, and I have always believed that “basta sama sama kayang kaya”. Let’s enjoy life and learn to love and appreciate what we have. – Dr. Marinella Abat