Three days after the Department of Health designated on March 20 the Lung Center of the Philippines (LCP) as one of three government hospitals to serve as centers for COVID-19 patients, LCP administrative services head Dr. Antonio Ramos aired an urgent appeal through media:
“We have only 98 suits left. We’re seeing that at the end of this day, we will have nothing left.”
These are the Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) or full-body suits used by medical frontliners when treating patients with infectious diseases like COVID-19.
LCP frontliners use a daily average of 80-100 suits, he pointed out.
That was last week. “At present, we use about 500 suits a day,” said Dr. Norberto Francisco, LCP media officer, who added that the hospital has converted more than 50 percent of its facilities to attend to COVID-19 patients.
The LCP COVID-19 center is filled to capacity.
Help has been pouring in from all sectors—from big business to ordinary folk.
Globe Telecoms raised an initial P12 million from subscriber points. Private citizens drove to LCP in Quezon City to donate food. Gerry’s Grill, a favorite after-work hangout of LCP consultant anesthesiologist James Monje, delivered free meals.
“It’s still a daily struggle, but we’re happy seeing the bayanihan spirit alive,” Monje said, referring to the Filipino tradition of communities coming together to help each other.
Shortly before the lockdown, Monje said he felt the pressure caused by the number of people going to the emergency room. He and his LCP colleagues had to dip into their pockets to replenish the hospital’s dwindling supplies.
“Now we are again requesting media to help us spread the word that the LCP still needs more PPEs, plus disinfecting and bleaching solutions,” said Francisco.
“Hats off to media,” said Monje. “You guys have been helping save each day in these extraordinary times.”