By Zaldy Comanda
BAGUIO CITY – Local physicians of this city expressed willingness to help counterparts in neighboring provinces set up their own coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) control and treatment systems to enhance the capabilities of their hospitals in dealing with the health crisis.
In a meeting with Mayor Benjamin Magalong recently, doctors expressed concern that the lack of preparedness of hospitals in Regions 1 and 2 could force them to refer COVID-19 patients to the city’s more organized facilities like the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC).
BGHMC Medical Chief Dr. Ricardo Ruñez and St. Louis University Hospital of the Sacred Heart (SLUHSH) Medical Director Dr. Paul Quitiquit lamented that doing so would put to waste the city’s efforts to control the spread of the virus in its turf which to date had been proving to be effective.
Magalong earlier expressed willingness to accept patients from other areas, saying preparations were being undertaken because is set to be designated as the COVID-19 regional treatment center.
However, local physicians said that, while aiding these hospitals by accommodating their patients could not be prevented, there has to be a limit to encourage them to develop their own capabilities.
Quitiquit said it was prudent to just assist them to set up their own quarantine and critical care units to empower them to develop their resources and take care of their own patients, instead of letting them just rely on BGHMC.
This was considering that these hospitals are of the same category and level with the BGHMC.
“We are better off here and I like the idea of helping them but what if our hospital and our health workers get overwhelmed. We have to look after them too,” he said.
Dr. Thea Cajulao, head of the Infectious Disease Specialist division of the BGHMC, said they worry of the risk that the city’s frontliners would take due to exposure to the COVID-19 positive patients from other areas. “There’s a limit to how much exposure the frontliners can have,” she said.
Magalong, agreed that the city should provide assistance to the provincial hospitals even as he said preparations will continue to take the direction of helping patients from other areas if the need arises.