'Pagod na sila': St. Luke's grapples with staff shortages as infections rise

Published August 26, 2021, 11:15 AM

by Jaleen Ramos

The temporary closure of the St. Luke’s Medical Center’s (SLMC) coronavirus disease (COVID-19) wards is mainly due to the lack of manpower in the facility, its official said Thursday, Aug. 26.


“It’s mainly on manpower. The rooms, ‘yan pwedeng i-extend, pero ‘yung workforce (can be extended, but the workforce) is the problem now… Decrease in the number of manpower and pagod na sila (they are already tired),” Dr. Benjamin Campomanes, executive vice president and chief medical officer of SLMC, said in an interview with DZMM TeleRadyo.

He added many of their staff have already resigned to go to other country, while some contracted COVID-19 and were found asymptomatic.

On Wednesday, Aug. 25, the hospital announced that its wards and critical care units in both Bonifacio Global City and Quezon City branches have reached full capacity amid rising infections in the country.

“The other problem is the number of patients in the emergency room, especially ‘yung ICU kasi nagtayo na kami ng maliit na ICU sa ER eh (because we have already built a small ICU in the ER),” he added.

Campomanes also stressed that a nurse should only handle a maximum of two patients.

“For every nurse, dalawa lang i-hahandle niyan para maging effective. Na-eextend na nga ito sa one is to three, one is to four kasi walang tao (For every nurse, they have to handle only two to be effective. It has already been extended to one is to three, one is to four because there are no people),” he said.

“Nagrerecruit kami (We are recruiting). If you can see our social media, we are hiring health care workers,” the doctor added.

Campomanes also assured that their nursing staff are well-compensated in terms of salary and perks.

“We are top three, top two pa nga in salaries in hospital. Aside from that, marami kaming binibigay na perks (we give a lot of perks). Basically, if you compute all of that, we will be the number one private hospital institutuion that will give this kind of amount to our nursing staff,” he said.

Around 98 to 99 percent of the SLMC staff are already vaccinated against COVID-10, Campomanes said.

“The reason why may one to two percent is, of course, hindi sila pwede mabakunahan (they can’t be vaccinated) because of some allergies, some other medical problems. Very very few ang ayaw magpabakuna (Very very few who don’t want to be vaccinated),” he said.

Campomanes, meanwhile, admitted that the hospital has no plans yet to extend its beds for COVID-19 patients.

“As of now, no. We are not a COVID hospital. We admit non-COVID patients. Paano naman yung mga patients na may sakit na iba? Kailangan mayroong lugar din sila (What about those patients with other diseases? They must also have a place). So that is a problem ,” he said.

“Interestingly enough, our operation rooms are almost filled up to the levels of pre-pandemic. Madami naring nagpapa opera ngayon (Many are undergoing operation now)That is good news for us and good news for the people because they are able to go to the hospital and have their usual non-COVID problem taken care of,” Campomanes added.

The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday reported 13,573 additional COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of active cases to 125,378.