Filipino surgeons make history with close to 200 free surgical procedures in one day all over PH

More than 100 Filipino surgeons, anesthesiologists, and operating room nurses, made history on Monday, Sept. 5, as they performed close to 200 free and simultaneous surgical procedures nationwide to help address the surgical backlog in the country brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

A countdown to 9 a.m. led by the Philippine College of Surgeons (PCS) headed by its president, Dr. Ramon S. Inso, signaled the start of the “cutting time” via Zoom in the operating rooms of close to 150 regional private and public hospitals in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao for the event dubbed as the “National Surgical Outreach Day.”

Inso said the direct and indirect effects of Covid-19 lockdowns have prevented patients from accessing surgical services and have led to the deterioration of the patients’ underlying conditions as well as quality of life.

“The overarching objective of the simultaneous surgeries is to promote safe and quality surgery as the country transitions from an acute pandemic phase to a new, and, hopefully, better normal,” he added.

To contribute to the global effort to address unmet surgeries, volunteer surgeons from the PCS, with the participation of the various PCS Chapters, Surgical Specialty and Affiliate societies under it, the Philippine Society of Anesthesiologists, and the Operating Room Nurses Association of the Philippines (ORNAP), banded together to help indigent patients in the country to avail of the free surgical procedures, including cases with long waiting lists.

Dr. Maria Concepcion C. Vesagas, PCS vice president, thanked the participating surgeons for their overwhelming response to volunteerism.

“The best part here is we are helping more than 100 patients in one day through these surgical procedures. The response far exceeded all our expectations,” Vesagas said.

Dr. Vivencio Jose P. Villaflor III, PCS treasurer and co-organizer of the National Surgical Outreach Day with Dr. Rouel Mateo M. Azores, chairman of the Local Affairs - Ways and Means Committee of the PCS’ Surgery in the Underserved Regions and Education Commission, said all surgical procedures have been successful and added that plans are underway to duplicate the feat to address the neglected and unmet surgeries in the country.

Among the procedures performed during Monday’s simultaneous surgical outreach were craniotomy, the surgical removal of part of the bone from the skull to create an opening to reach the aneurysm in the brain (Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, Cebu City); pancreaticoduodenectomy, also known as a Whipple procedure, a major surgical operation most often performed to remove cancerous tumors from the head of the pancreas (Region 1 Medical Center); total thyroidectomy, a procedure most often performed to treat thyroid cancer (Chong Hua Hospital, Cebu City); cholecystectomy, a common treatment of symptomatic gallstones and other gallbladder conditions (Ospital ng Muntinlupa); mesh hernioplasty better known as tension-free hernia repair (Ospital ng Maynila); feeding jejunostomy refers to a surgically inserted tube, preferably in the proximal jejunum, to provide enteral nutrition or administer medications (Brokenshire Medical Center, Davao City); laparoscopic cholecystectomy, a surgery to remove gallbladder (St. Martin de Porres Charity Hospital, Agusan del Norte Provincial Hospital); transabdominal cytoreductive nephrectomy or the removal of primary tumor (National Kidney and Transplant Institute, Quezon City); inguinal herniotomy on a 1-month-old baby boy (Ospital ng Maynila,

Batangas Medical Center, and St. Elizabeth Hospital, General Santos City); thyroid lobectomy, also known as a diagnostic lobectomy, is a surgery which involves removing approximately half of the thyroid gland to treat or diagnose thyroid cancer (Davao Regional Medical Center, Tagum City); and mastectomy, the surgical removal of one or both breasts, partially or completely (Mary Johnston Hospital).

Participating hospitals also included the Capitol Medical Center, Southern Isabela Medical Center, Corazon Locsin Montelibano Regional Hospital, The Medical City, Perpetual Help Medical Center, FEU - NRMF Medical Center, Tondo Medical Center, Visayas Medical Hospital, Bataan Doctors Hospital, Philippine Heart Center, Perpetual Succor Hospital, Bicol Medical Center, Cardinal Santos Medical Center, Bacolod Adventist Medical Center, Philippine Children’s Medical Center, Baguio General Hospital, Makati Medical Center, Manila Doctors Hospital, St. Luke’s Medical Center, National Children’s Hospital, San Juan De Dios Hospital, Manila Medical Center, Quezon Medical Center, Bulacan Medical Center, General Santos Doctors Hospital, Northern Mindanao Medical Center, Quezon City General Hospital, James L. Gordon memorial Hospital, Amai Pakpak Medical Center, Delos Santos Medical Center, Medical Center Manila, Oriental Mindoro Provincial Hospital, UST Hospital, Jose B. Lingad Memorial General Hospital, V. Luna Medical Center, Southern Philippines Medical Center, Pasig City General Hospital, Northern Mindanao Medical Center, University of Cebu Medical Center, Villaflor Hospital, Veterans Memorial Medical Center, Adventist Medical Center, Amang Rodriguez Memorial medical Center, and Asian Hospital and Medical Center.