St. Luke's puts spotlight on everyday heroes

Posted on Aug 29, 2020

In celebration of the National Heroes Day, frontliners of St. Luke's Medical Center (SLMC) received over 600 messages of gratitude and encouragement from people all over the country, as they continue to battle against COVID-19.

Not all heroes wear capes is what everyday heroes from the hospital have proven since the start of the pandemic. Frontliners, whether it be security guards, housekeeping personnel, food service assistants, or medical staff, risk themselves being exposed to the virus to continue serving and saving lives.

Dr. Ryan Buendia, cardiologist, recalls that it has been years since the medical profession has faced this kind of challenge. Dr. Romulo Babasa, Emergency (ER) medical consultant, remarked “To say that the medical profession has this extraordinary opportunity to be of service to patients pushes us to report for duty each day.”

However, like everyone else, frontliners experience fear and anxiety. Each one of them faces different challenges every day.

"I went through the emotions of fear, sadness, and anxiety to the point of hopelessness, which most can relate with," shared Dr. Mae Campomanes, a pulmonary specialist.

Dr. Richard Enecilla, ER medical consultant, shared the challenge on communication for patients and co-medical staff. “As everyone now wears face masks and shields, we can’t be easily understood by patients and those that you’re talking to,” he explained.

Meanwhile, Dr. Janeth Samson, a pulmonologist who regularly faces COVID-19 patients, said that "there's always the fear that you can have the disease and that you can die with the disease."

“We are being coughed at and sneezed at everyday, and that is the hardest part of being a frontliner at the swab booth, shared Maita Fullido.

Marlou Cañezo, a security guard in the hospital, shared that they are at risk since they scan everyone who enters the hospital buildings first. "Lahat ng empleyado at ang mga pasyente na pumapasok ay samin muna dadaan," he said.

Likewise, hospital housekeepers are also at risk. Alex Gomez, a housekeeper at St. Luke's, shared that if not for them, how will COVID wards be kept clean. The fear of still contracting the virus was also shared by Cerilo Nerez and Elizer Borja, a housekeeper and food service assistant, respectively.

Despite the challenges, all of them keep each other inspired to continue fighting. Dr. Helen Ong-Garcia shared that "St. Luke's is very dedicated to ensuring that every associate feels relevant, safe, and inspired."

Staff nurses Korina Castellano, Gracie Olimpo, and Nathan Vidola, said that the patients remain to be their inspiration as they go about their work.

Security guard Peter Jamila also emphasized his commitment to the hospital in healthcare delivery more than for himself as a worker.

Last week, the hospital shared on its social media account a call for messages to motivate their frontliners. In four days, it received 654 warm messages of support to frontliners, thanking them for all of their sacrifices.

"Since the start of COVID-19, you have worked 24/7 in saving lives. You keep going even if you're tired. We salute you for your selflessness in these trying times. Thank you for taking the challenge," said Rowee Lavore.

"Never lose hope and faith. We will continue to support and pray for each and every frontliner," added Tom Vallentes.

"Humanity owes you and will not be able to thank you enough for your dedication, commitment, and selfless service. Let us in our humble and little way, thank you," said AJ Domingo.

The hospital continues to receive plenty of letters and posts from people and netizens all over the country who are all thankful for frontliners. As SLMC President and CEO, Dr. Arturo De La Peña said, “You are the ones behind St. Luke’s care – and you deserve all the credit.”