Amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has claimed more than 3,000 lives in the country, a heart-warming story was unfolding quietly in the south about a mother’s unconditional love.
In late July, Amor Tomaquin, 26, an overseas Filipino worker returning from Abu Dhabi who was eight and a half months pregnant, tested positive for the coronavirus.
When she was due to give birth, she was transferred from the quarantine facility in her hometown in Malungon, Sarangani province to the St. Elizabeth Hospital in Gen. Santos City, where she was isolated in the COVID ward.
The ISO-accredited tertiary medical facility has allocated 30% of its 273 beds for COVID-19 patients based on Department of Health guidelines. It is the city’s only accredited RT-PCR (reverse transcription -polymerase chain reaction) testing laboratory that provides confirmatory testing services to nearby Sarangani.
Considered the top in Region 12, St. Elizabeth is part of Metro Pacific Hospital Holdings, Inc. the Philippines’s largest private hospital operator, which has a nationwide portfolio of 16 medical centers.
According to the hospital’s chief of clinics Dr. Helena Veneracion Garcia, Tomaquin was informed that as a standard procedure, her baby would have to be separated from her after she is born.
Angela Faith, a healthy baby girl, was delivered on Aug. 6 and was found to be negative of the virus within 24 hours when tested.
However, the patient had to remain isolated until she was declared no longer infectious. The hospital staff helped ease her worries by taking photographs of the baby, which she in turn sent to her Abu Dhabi-based partner, the father of the child.
Fifteen days after giving birth, she was shown her newborn for the first time, but was unable to carry her in her arms due to medical restrictions.
When she was later declared to have recovered clinically, she and her baby were finally united and discharged in a simple but touching send-off gesture by the hospital personnel.
“We are in an unprecedented medical emergency which pushes us to our limits. Stories of hope like this inspire us to keep giving our best and to give people hope in these uncertain times,” Garcia said.
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