“Answer me quickly, Lord; my spirit fails. Do not hide Your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit. Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You.” Psalm 143:7-8
When my daughter was 12 years old, she told me to save a lot of money. Perplexed by her request, I asked why. She simply said that she wanted to be a doctor. She understood that studying to be a doctor would take years and a lot of money. I did not give that conversation much thought as she was only 12, and children usually change their minds.
Now, my daughter is a pulmonology fellow at a tertiary hospital in Metro Manila. She is under home quarantine for a second time because she checked a patient under investigation (PUI) for COVID-19. I am praying she is well, and am counting the days as she does not exhibit any symptoms. As a mother, do I tell her to take a leave? Or do I support her calling and let her go to the frontlines of this war knowing there could be dire consequences?
Every day, we read about the growing number of COVID-19 cases. As of March 23, our Department of Health reported 462 confirmed cases and 33 deaths. We know that our country does not have enough kits for all cases to be tested. It is logical to assume that as soon as we have enough test kits, more confirmed cases will surface. To compound this concern, doctors, nurses, and other health care personnel are falling ill, and some have even died from this virus. The MIMS in 2016 reported that the doctor-population ratio in the Philippines is 1:33,000 compared with the World Health Organization’s prescribed 1:1,000. Let us not worsen our ratio further.
My friend’s son is an oncology fellow at a tertiary hospital, also in Metro Manila. He became a PUI because of the symptoms he exhibited, and is under home quarantine. After their eight days of emotional agony, the result came out: negative, thank God! Should my friend support her son’s desire to return to the frontlines of this war?
An anesthesiologist consultant lost his life after being infected with COVID-19. Anesthesiologists are at high risk from this virus because they are the ones who intubate patients. Is he just a casualty of war?
Recently, a 34-year-old cardiology fellow passed away. He was a scholar, a doctor to the people in the barrio. He got infected because the patient had lied about her travel history. His family, his colleagues, and the hospital personnel grieve over his untimely demise. Will he just be a statistic in our death count?
Medical doctors took the Hippocratic Oath to ensure health and public safety. They serve their patients irrespective of the latter’s race, age, or disease. Let us support them as they go above and beyond their call of duty during this epidemic. If you are a possible PUI, be honest about your travel history. Let us not exasperate them. Let us keep our doctors alive. Stay home!
Our registered nurses understand the value and dignity of each human being; they recognize their primary responsibility is to preserve health. They, too, go above and beyond their call of duty. Let us behave in a manner becoming Christians. Let us support our nurses. Stay home!
As responsible citizens, we need to help stop this epidemic in every possible way. Let us pray to the Lord, for His love never fails. Let us think of others, and not hoard food and hygiene supplies. Let us not wantonly post things on social media that could create panic and confusion. Let us comply with this lockdown. Let us stop the spread of this virus. Stay home!
Each of us, no matter what our work may be, has an important role to play in this pandemic: our faithful delivery men who brave potentially infected communities to bring us our food or medicine; our security personnel who keep our premises safe; our supermarket workers who hardly have time to take breaks as they restock supplies and ring up our purchases. They all find ways to go to work despite the transportation ban, and work tirelessly to serve. Let their efforts not be in vain. Stay home!
Let us help save lives. Stay home!
Regina C. Dy, Ph.D., is a consultant at Euro-Med Laboratories Phils., Inc. and a senior trainer of AMDY Management Consultancy, Inc. She is a part-time faculty of the Ramon V. Del Rosario College of Business of De La Salle University.