St. Luke’s sends medical teams to Taal relief efforts

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    St. Luke’s Medical Center (SLMC)–Global City launched its relief operations for the Taal Volcano eruption. Its relief efforts comprised of medical missions and relief operations.

    Partnered with the Philippine Army, SLMC-Global City sent a team of 80 doctors and 3,500 packs of relief goods (food, water, hygiene kits, diapers, and blankets). These were split between concurrent operations in several cities in Batangas and Laguna.

    The doctors and nurses were able to care for more than 1,000 patients during the medical missions. The evacuees were checked for respiratory illnesses that may have developed from exposure to volcanic ash and given consult for acute and chronic diseases. SLMC President and CEO Dr. Arturo De La Peña said, “Part of our medical mission is to treat those who are sick now so the diseases don’t spread to the rest of the evacuees. So, for medical assistance, we have here adult and pediatric doctors ready for consultation. We also brought medicine for common illnesses like cough, colds, and diarrhea.”

    SLMC Nurse Unit Manager Gillian Platino shared, “We’ve seen a lot of patients with cough and colds. We’ve also seen one with possible chickenpox so, of course, that has a possibility of spreading. It’s good that a pediatrician was able to prescribe the child medication.”

    The SLMC-Global City team distributed free N95 masks to help mitigate the effects of living in close proximity to Taal Volcano. They also dispensed medication to evacuees with chronic conditions like hypertension and checked the evacuees for signs of other infectious diseases.

    SLMC Vice President for Medical Practice Group and Assistant Chief Medical Officer Dr. Deborah D. Ona shared, “The [evacuees] have been here a week, but if they stay here longer, you’ll see more infectious diseases among them. Sanitation issues will cause diarrhea, for example. In children, it’s cough and colds and skin diseases, which is common in crowded areas like this.”

    Dr. Ona added that the SLMC team was also able to identify evacuees who needed urgent care. “We’ve already seen a few today who need emergency care like hospitalization or IV medication. We coordinated with the local health official so they can be transferred to a hospital near here.”