Allow us to bring to the fore the current state of our healthcare facilities in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
An alarming number of nurses, residents, consultants, and hospital employees are under 14-day quarantine while the number of PUIs (Persons under investigation) continue to flock to our emergency rooms every day. Our regular rooms have been converted into COVID-19 isolation areas, leaving less for other non-COVID-19 high-risk patients who also have life-threatening conditions. The panic is escalating, mortality is increasing, our supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) are running short, our frontline staff are increasingly getting depleted as more of them are quarantined or physically and emotionally exhausted, and a number of our medical colleagues are already hooked to respirators fighting for their lives in various ICUs. Even our ICUs are getting full. Soon we will have a shortage of respirators. We have every reason to be scared; we are, indeed, very scared because we feel that we are on our own to face our countrymen in dire need of help.
This unprecedented and escalating medical crisis cuts across borders. The rest of the world, even countries as rich as the United States, are facing the same fears, the same looming threat of shortage of supplies, ICUs, PPEs and healthcare workers. If we do not put our act together, the prospect of the healthcare delivery systems crashing down is imminent and real. It is already happening.
We speak, as one, because the mismatch between the exponential surge of patients and the available healthcare workers is no longer occurring in just one center, but in all our respective institutions. We share information and coping mechanisms, but we cannot share resources that we no longer have.
As we observe globally, and in alignment with the government efforts, the most effective way to slow down this pandemic is through effective containment and distancing within the potentially disease-stricken population. Given the sharp increase of COVID-19+ patients per day, we have to act fast and act now. There is no time for indecision.
Thus, our collective call to action is to centralize all efforts and resources into ONE OR TWO COVID-19 hospitals, adequately equipped and invested upon by the government, designated to receive, screen and treat PUIs and COVID-19 positive patients when the allowable number of the cases per hospital, private and public, is exceeded. We are aware that there is a plan to do this; we are urgently appealing for the DOH to mobilize this plan, challenging as it may be, but which the private hospitals are willing and ready to facilitate.
Execution of the plan will allow for concentration of resources, speed of patient processing and efficiency in protocol execution, rendering better chances for infection containment.
With the COVID-19 hospital(s) in place, the other institutions can then focus on the bigger population who need to be treated for the rest of the other conditions other than the COVID-19 infection. They are the ones we need to equally protect and secure from the virus, so that they and their families can also be assured of appropriate treatment detached from any threat of COVID-19 infection aggravating their condition.
The possibilities and power of a network set-up like this behooves all of us – in both the private and public sectors ? to pursue this plan soon. We are not shying away from our responsibilities; we are ready to take in the non-COVID 19 patients of the designated COVID-19 hospitals, and if necessary, provide temporary practice privileges to their medical staff whose (non-COVID-19) patients will be transferred to our hospitals.
This is a plan that we push to be realized without delay. Our objective is to put order and organization on a national scale as we all grapple with dwindling resources, increasing morbidity and mortality, and a decimated healthcare workforce as the virus continues to spread relentlessly.
ADVENTIST MEDICAL CENTER
Dr. Bibly L. Macaya, President & CEO
ASIAN HOSPITAL MEDICAL CENTER
Dr. Jose M. Acuin, Chief Medical Officer
CARDINAL SANTOS MEDICAL CENTER
Dr. Zenaida M. Javier-Uy, SVP, Chief Medical Officer
FATIMA UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER
Dr. Oscar Payawal, Chief Medical Officer
MAKATI MEDICAL CENTER
Dr. Saturnino P. Javier, Medical Director & Interim CEO
MANILA DOCTORS HOSPITAL
Dr. Dante Morales, Board Member
Dr. Mario M. Juco, Chief Medical Officer
MEDICAL CENTER MANILA
Dr. Eduardo S. Eseque, Chief Medical Officer
OUR LADY OF LOURDES HOSPITAL
Dr. Milagros Joyce Santos, Chief Medical Officer
THE MEDICAL CITY
Dr. Eugenio Jose F. Ramos, President & CEO
ST. LUKE’S MEDICAL CENTER
Dr. Benjamin S.A. Campomanes, Jr., Chief Medical Officer
UNIVERSITY OF THE EAST RAMON MAGSAYSAY MEDICAL CENTER
Dr. Napoleon B. Alcedo, Assistant Chief Medical Officer
PHILIPPINE COLLEGE OF PHYSICIANS
Dr. Gina C. Nazareth, President
PHILIPPINE COLLEGE OF SURGEONS
Dr. Jose Antonio M. Salud, President