January 12, 2020 is a date that will forever be remembered by this generation.
After 43 years of dormancy, Taal Volcano erupted again and the damage it brought about affected not only the people who live in the nearby area but it also struck fear to the hearts of every Filipino.
During the Taal Volcano’s eruption, we would hear every day in the news about the plight of the evacuees and how the government and private companies and concerned citizens send help to them.
But how about the stories of health workers who went beyond the call of duty and risked their own lives to save others?
Taal Volcano reached Alert Level 4 on which in effect hit Tagaytay to experience massive power outages, water shortages, and intermittent cellphone signals. As the situation turned worse, it also affected the health workers’ like the Tagaytay Medical Center (TMC) in terms of their personal and family lives. Nonetheless, they remained unfazed and dedicated to their call of serving patients in need during this emergency.
At TMC, patients’ safety was paramount. In the midst of the all possible dangerd, ambulances from TMC and other Mount Grace hospitals began ferrying in-patients (esp. ICU patients) from TMC to other MG hospitals (and other nearby medical centers). The transfer started from the evening of January 12 up to the following morning.
Dr. Francis Olaso, ER Doctor (Resident on duty) shared, “I was honestly preoccupied with the safety of our patients at that time, especially those admitted in the ICU. I was also thinking of how I would respond to the situation given the unpredictability of the said calamity.”
While nurse Luther Melodias lamented, “I prayed for our safety, and trusted my colleagues during the time of calamity.”
TMC, particularly in the emergency room, experienced a surge in patients during the height of the eruption. Around 50 brought to TMC ER on January 12 and 13 with most cases were related to the respiratory system and allergic reactions, while some others reported having skin allergies, heart problems, and were involved in vehicular accidents
One of a patient’s relative was quoted on saying,“We are really grateful that we do not need to look for another hospital. The staff is friendly and kind. We were well-received and treated with great attention.”
The South Cluster hospitals of Mount Grace Hospitals, Inc. (MGHI), comprising of TMC, Westlake Medical Center (WMC), and HealthServ Los Banos Medical Center (HSLB) responseTaal Volcano’s eruption serves as an example of how hospitals should respond to disasters if a natural calamity strikes major urban locations.
Immediately after the first week of the Volcanic Eruption, TMC including its South Cluster group conducted relief operations and medical mission in nearby areas in affected communities. Being the closest of the MGHI hospitals to Taal Volcano, TMC was at the center of emergency efforts to help those affected by the calamity, particularly in the popular highland resort city.
Prior to the eruption, TMC had already been the go-to hospital for Tagaytay residents and tourists because of its comprehensive array of medical specialties, including emergency medical care, internal medicine, and family medicine among others.
TMC’s experience provides lessons that the country, especially the major urban centers, can learn from when responding to natural disasters. These lessons are very useful as more seismologists are warning Filipinos that the so-called “The Big One” can happen anytime.
When that time comes (which we hope not), one can only expect that the team of TMC will again go beyond the call of duty.’