Doctors and health workers from the emergency department of The Medical City have turned to prayer as they continue to battle the novel coronavirus disease or COVID-19 at the risk of exposing themselves, too.
In a photo taken by emergency-room nurse Steven Mari Cadiz, doctors and medical workers in full protective gear can be seen gathered in a circle and bowed in prayer.
“Lord, I hope this ends soon...#front liners before our everyday battle,” Cadiz said in his post that has since gone viral over the weekend.
“A captured moment of our Emergency Department team saying their prayers before they step out to work at the front lines. We at The Medical City applaud all health care workers and support staff for their bravery and dedication during these challenging times,” The Medical City said in its Facebook post sharing Cadiz’s photo.
The photo resonated with all Filipinos, but perhaps more so with the front liners at The Medical City, where at least 150 doctors and personnel are under quarantine for exposure to patients with COVID-19.
TMC president Eugenio Ramos says that, as of Friday, the hospital had 18 COVID-19 patients and 54 people under investigation.
“The other day we had 140 doctors and nurses under quarantine. Now the number has risen to 150. It’s getting scary,” Ramos said in a radio interview on Friday.
“The challenge is not simply the number but the exposure of our doctors, and the fast spread of the virus. Our PPEs [personal protective equipment] are running out. Our rooms are being converted to wards for COVID-19 patients.”
As emergency rooms continue to strain under the sheer volume of COVID-19 patients and even PUIs, doctors have begged the government to immediately procure PPEs.
The doctors, led by Philippine College of Physicians president Gina Nazareth, say the shortage of PPEs is taking a toll on front line health workers.
“Ensuring the protection of our health workers is paramount to strengthening our workforce,” Nazareth said.
The Ospital ng Maynila Medical Center on Saturday announced that one of its doctors lost his battle against COVID-19 after he was reportedly exposed to a suspected patient who lied about his travel history.
An anesthesiologist taking care of COVID-19 patients at the Manila Doctors Hospital, on the other hand, succumbed to complications from the virus. His wife, also an anesthesiologist, is now fighting for her life at the intensive-care unit of the hospital.
A young cardiologist confined at the Philippine Heart Center, who did not have any direct contacts with COVID-19 patients, also died on Saturday.
“His symptoms actually began even before the community quarantine got off. An assiduous contact tracing continues,” said Joel Abanilla, recalling how they heard the news while conducting their Incident Command Post meeting.
“We paused, we prayed―with a few unable to control their tears. We can only question why this young trainee with a promise of a bright future had to be the one to go. We have no answers,” Abanilla said.
Also on Saturday, the Philippine Heart Association said one of its members died of COVID-19 “while fulfilling his duties as a doctor.”
“It is a sad day for the whole association as we have lost one of our own in the fight against COVID. He is a casualty of this war. We honor him as he lost his young life while fulfilling his duties as a doctor, a young cardiologist and a dedicated member of PHA,” the association said in a statement.
“Please pray for the eternal repose of his soul. Please pray for all our members and all our other doctors and health care workers in the front lines and all the people who are afflicted by the disease. We lost a young, brilliant, promising doctor in this battle. You are our hero!”
Nazareth says the delays in the procurement of PPEs will make it more difficult to prevent the spread of the pandemic.
“Both the patients and doctors’ lives are on the line. Full protection is needed and it is difficult for us to just watch this happening before us when we know we can do something about it as health workers,” she said.
READ: Health workers get more buses for free rideREAD: Hontiveros seeks hazard pay for COVID-19 ‘frontliners’READ: Frontline Heroes: Medical interns won't go home even off-duty
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