It is a sad reality but the Philippines is really not prepared for the pandemic. We don’t have enough hospital beds, too few medical workers, and a poor health system that can’t handle the expenses of handling everything necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
What’s worse, there are many people who lie to their doctor, perhaps thinking that they could get themselves cured of the condition without telling their doctor the truth. Recently, the Philippine Heart Center lost a 34-year-old doctor to COVID-19, all because a patient lied about his travel history.
Dr. Israel Bactol hails from Peñaranda, Nueva Ecija. He went to college and medical school only with scholarships but would eventually become his family’s breadwinner. Colleagues and friends say he was one of the kindest people they know, wrote Eric Cabahug.
Sadly, a patient went to his clinic in February, back when only few cases have been reported in the Philippines. This patient had flu-like symptoms but lied about his travel history. So, thinking that it was an ordinary flu that’s turning into pneumonia, no protective equipment was used or added precautions done.
It was only some days later when the patient’s condition worsened that he and his family finally disclosed that he had been to China. By then it was too late. While the patient’s condition worsened and swab tests later confirmed he had COVID-19, the doctor would develop the symptoms.
The patient passed early in March. The doctor was intubated for 2 weeks but lost the battle.
Because of the patient’s lie, the doctor did not only contract the condition, he could have passed on the virus to many others. So, the nurses and other people who were exposed to him and the patient had to undergo quarantine.
“Pinaka-bumagabag po sa akin ay ang balitang ang isa sa mga nurses na pilit na nag-revive sa doktor ay nagkaroon ng trauma; hindi humihinto sa pag-iyak, sa pagkawala ng kaibigan AT LALO NA SA STRESS NG PAG-AALALA NIYA SA SARILI NIYANG BUHAY AT NG MGA NAKASALAMUHA NIYA.” wrote director Darryl Yap who was able to talk to some of the people at the Heart Center.
“Napakahirap po ng trabaho nila— bukod sa alam na natin ito; damang-dama ko po ang pagkakasabi sa akin: ‘Stressed na stressed kami, pero kailangan naming kumilos, dahil kung manghihina kami, sino ang gagawa?’”
Cabahug angrily slammed the asymptomatic politicians who got tested first and apparently had a VIP lane at the testing centers as their results came out faster than the ones being tested at the hospitals, including Dr. Bactol.
“If you want to help out his family, you may send financial help thru BPI account number 9190012317 under the name Elijah B. Bactol, the doctor’s brother,” Cabahug shared.
“#Frontliners and their families are the hardest hit community of this awful pandemic. Please continue praying for their safety. And send as much help we can in providing protective gear and other essentials to them. The number of confirmed cases is rising fast. In fact, 77 new cases have been recorded within the last day alone, the highest increase yet.”
Our prayers for Dr. Bactol and the family he left behind.