Heroes in scrubs: Remembering the lives of doctors who died in the fight vs COVID-19

By March 28, 2020 No Comments

Updated: March 26, 2020; 4:59 p.m.

MANILA, Philippines—These heroes wear scrubs.

That they gave up their lives to save others from the claws of COVID-19 is testament not only to their self-sacrifice but to the real risks that health workers and professionals face every time they report for duty.

In the Philippines, several of these heroes had already lost their lives in the fight against the disease.

Here they are:

Dr. Greg Macasaet, Manila Doctors Hospital

Manila Doctors Hospital describes him as “one of the best anesthesiologists” in the Philippines and a “brave frontliner.”

His wife, Dr. Evelyn, was also diagnosed with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is currently in hospital.

Before he died, Macasaet sought help for his family, especially for his son who has special needs, in case he did not make it.

“If Ateng (Evelyn) survives, then my wish for her and Raymond for a long and happy life will bear fruition!” he wrote.

“Raymond, however, needs financial and emotional care for the rest of his life! Something I may no longer be able to fulfill! It is my fervent hope that all of you may assist the rest of my family in our most difficult times!”

Rose Pulido, San Juan de Dios Hospital

Not much was written about her passing but she was remembered by people whose lives she had touched on Facebook.

She was a “mentor an a friend” and taught resident doctors “to be always compassionate to patients.”

Pulido also “put the welfare of her patients first regardless of her health condition,” said one colleague, who also described her as a “visionary and innovator.”

Some of her former patients also paid tribute to her on Facebook.

“Thank you for the compassion you have with your patients. Thank you very much for your service,” said a daughter of one of her former patients.

“Her expertise extended my mother’s life. My mom’s still alive today. Thank you for your service,” another wrote.

Dr. Israel Bactol, Philippine Heart Center

A young and promising adult cardiology fellow gone too soon at 34. It’s not clear how he got infected with the virus as he reportedly did not have any direct contact with coronavirus patients and was not in any of the COVID-19 wards.

The Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, where he is an alumnus, remembered him as a “doctor to the barrio and hero” and “scholar whose humble beginnings guided his future.”

Dr. Raul Jara, Philippine Heart Center

Jara is one of the country’s top cardiologists. The Philippine Heart Association, which he used to head as president, remembered him as “one of the great pillars of cardiology.”

He “took pride in serving the Filipino people” and “never got tired to impart knowledge and wisdom” as he “spent his life teaching.”

“His memory is not defined by how he died but how he lived,” said the PHA.

Tributes continue to pour in for health workers and professionals who, in their frontline duties, are getting more and more vulnerable to the disease as the number of COVID-19 cases rises.

In Metro Manila, hundreds of staffers of different hospitals had been placed on quarantine after exposure to COVID-19 cases.

As of March 24, the Philippines had 552 confirmed cases, including 35 deaths and 20 recoveries.

Dr. Henry Fernandez, Pangasinan Medical Society

The 77-year-old Fernandez, of Bayambang, Pangasinan, caught the disease from a visitor from abroad during his visit to Manila. He died at the Lung Center of the Philippines last March 20.

Dr. Marcelo Jaochico, Pampanga provincial health chief

Jaochico was head of the provincial health office of Pampanga. He was a Jose P. Rizal Memorial awardee and served as doctor to the barrios in Calanasan, Apayao for at least 16 years.

His daughter, Cielo, who posted a tribute on Facebook, said she didn’t want her father to be remembered as “someone who just died because of COVID-19.”

Dr. Sally Gatchalian, president of Philippine Pediatric Society

Aside from being the president of the Philippine Pediatric Society, Gatchalian was also assistant director of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, once the sole facility for confirmatory tests for COVID-19 cases. Her death was announced by her sister, TV host Ruby Rodriguez.

“We will only remember you with happy memories, laughing and sleeping,” Rodriguez wrote. “Be at peace and do not worry about us anymore. Have fun in Heaven! Love you so much!”

Edited by TSB

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TAGS: Coronavirus, coronavirus update, COVID-19, covid-19 special report, Doctors, Health care, Heroes
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