File Photo: RIP. Frontliners in the battle against COVID 19. The two Heart Center physicians are part of this article. Doctors Pulido and Macasaet will be featured in future stories.
On the Sunday morning of March 8, 2020, a Metro Manila private hospital held an event, a photo shoot for a major anniversary. The previous day, the Department of Health had announced the 6th COVID 19 confirmed case in the Philippines, she was the wife of COVID 19 patient number 5. Both would subsequently die of the coronavirus.
In the festive atmosphere of the preparations for group pictures by department and/or sub-specialty – Management Committee, Internal Medicine, Dermatology, Pediatrics, OB-GYN, Surgery, Orthopedics, etc., catered food was served as doctors had to wait for their turn to be called.
Among the participants was Dr. Heart Center, an internal medicine and cardiology specialist who was a consultant in both Philippine Heart Center and the private hospital. Dr. Heart Center was a social animal, mingling with the crowd, exchanging pleasantries and work related stories. Among the main topics was, naturally, the sweeping killer devastating China, Iran, Italy and South Korea. The Philippines recorded on February 2, 2020 the first COVID 19 death outside of China.
Dr. Heart Center talked to a Dr. A who stood out in the crowd of more than a hundred (aside from physicians there were the hospital management, photo people, catering crew, office secretaries, janitors, security personnel, etc.) because Dr. A was the ONLY one wearing a FACE MASK (which he removed only when he was eating and when the actual photos were shot).
Considering there were senior consultants there in their late seventies and eighties, social distancing was implemented by avoiding shaking hands, hugging and cheek to cheek contact (besobeso). In spite of the precautions, the normal distance between people talking to each other prevailed. Of course, during the actual photo shoot, people sat or stood very close to each other as a standard for good pictures. Aside from formal poses, there were also wacky shots where people got even closer to each other.
In the photos taken, Dr. Heart Center posed next to Dr. B, also an Internal Medicine and Cardiology consultant, on one side. On the the opposite side of Dr. Heart Center was Dra. C, a neurologist.
On March 11, while at the Philippine Heart Center, Dr. HC collapsed and was later intubated and hooked to a respirator. Two weeks after a hard and laborious struggle for his life, Dr. HC DIED, the second physician from the Heart Center to die of COVID 19. The first was a 34 year old Cardiology fellow.
Back to the March 8 photo shoot participants. Dr. A, the paranoid surgeon, completed the 14 day self quarantine protocol without experiencing flu like signs and symptoms. Since he was just over an arm’s length distance with Dr. HC during their conversation, he is convinced that his two peso face mask saved him from the coronavirus infection. He did not request for a COVID 19 test because of the scarcity of the kits and he is asymptomatic.
Dr. B, the overweight Cardiologist with a multitude of health issues, DIED in the private hospital after more than a week on the respirator. He tested positive for COVID 19.
Dra. C experienced severe body pains and went on self quarantine. Her COVID 19 results have not yet been released. Even if she is confirmed positive for the coronavirus she is currently apprehensive but may live to tell her tale. It also helps that she is a marathoner, thus much healthier than most of us.
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Blog post predicted number of RP COVID 19 cases – 300 by week ended March 21; still to happen is 1000 total cases by week ending March 28
Frequent hand washing, alcohol, masks, physical distancing and staying at home will save lives.
The Department of Health confirmed 84 new cases for a total of 636 COVID 19 cases with 38 deaths. 26 patients have recovered. DOH called on the public to be vigilant and practice personal preventive measures such as proper hand hygiene, social distancing, and cough etiquette.
DOH also called on people to refrain from visiting public places and/or attending mass gatherings.