THERE IS pervasive gloom whenever reports surface that a physician has succumbed to Covid-19. To date, there has been more than 20 reported deaths of Filipino healthcare professionals (mostly physicians) related to the outbreak. In MMC, we have lost one soul – Dr.R.V. Anastacio after community exposure. At 80 years of age, Dr. Bobby was a good catch and optimal host for the dreaded fatal virus.
The names of Filipino physicians who lost the battle to Covid-19 – Israel Bactol, Henry Fernandez, Salvador Gatchalian, Marcelino Jaochico, Raul Jara, Francisco Lucban, Romeo Gregorio Macasaet, Rosalinda Pulido, Leandro Resurrecion III, Dennis Tudtud, Helen Tudtud, Gerald Fabian Goco, Mary Grace Lim, Ephraim Noel Orteza, Dino Ezrah Halili, Ronaldo Mateo, among others – shall forever be engrained in our consciousness whenever this phase of our lives will be revisited.
Contrary to others, I do not view the deaths of our medical colleagues as a great fortune – to have fallen in the line of duty as heroes – waging this battle against a viral menace, I view it as a great misfortune – a tragedy of unimaginable proportions – for them and their families, for the loved ones who cannot even view them in their dying hours, for the children who cannot touch them in their death beds. I view it as an indictment of how vulnerable we are in the face of an unseen health enemy.
For the more than 700 physicians and over 3,000 employees of MMC, I constantly remind myself of one marching order: I do not want them to be heroes, I want them all alive – returning to the warm embrace of their homes, enjoying anew the simple pleasures of life, breaking bread with each other once again – and hopefully soon…I view each life as sacred and inviolable.
(Excerpted from the message of Saturnino P. Javier, MD, Medical Director and Interim Co-CEO, Makati Medical Center/April 16, 2020)