Dr. Jonas del Rosario wears his simplicity, his unassuming ways, and his heart on his sleeve.
In 2014 when he and I collaborated on a project to help kids with heart problems, I was very much impressed with his down-to-earth demeanor and his dedication to his patients.
By then he was already a well-known and esteemed pediatric interventional cardiologist, and chair of the pediatrics department of St. Luke’s Medical Center in Bonifacio Global City.
Even given his stature, he had no airs. We had a simple lunch in a fast-food where he himself drove the patients we were to meet, to and from his clinic.
Jonas has always put the welfare of his patients above anything else. He treats everyone fairly and with great dignity.
When he came down with new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) the last week of July, thousands of people were so concerned about him. If prayers could break down the gates of heaven, the gates would have come crashing that very day.
Jonas is selflessness personified. His dedication to his patients and his country knows no bounds—sometimes, even at the expense of his health.
Jonas is slowly on the way to recovery. On Friday, on his Facebook, he posted a photo of the sunrise from his Philippine General Hospital (PGH) room with the words, “Thank you for the prayers. Getting stronger. #rayofhope.”
He is making good progress. He remains in the hospital as of this writing and assuming all goes well, he may be discharged by next week.
Sense of duty
I asked three of his colleagues at PGH to share their thoughts about Jonas. It is evident how his kindness and sense of duty shine through.
Dr. JayJay Germar: “I work with Jonas in the Crisis Management Team/COVID Operations Group of PGH. He is a genuinely good person. He would always intercede for people who need the services of PGH. He is the first to alert us when a health-care worker needs our help. He finds ways to make sure everyone gets help. His decisions would always be for the best interests of the health-care workers and the patients.
“He is also the one who would make it a point to ask for good vibes posts to keep the team going. He recently changed the lyrics of two songs : ‘Close to You (COVID-19 version)’ and ‘Mahirap Magka-COVID,’ and insisted on having the group sing the songs for fun, and well, to educate people. The outpouring of love and prayers when he got sick shows how many people he has touched and helped. He is the kindest, most selfless person I know.”
Dr. Jon Cu: “It has been both a pleasure and privilege to be mentored, and later on, work with Dr. Jonas as a colleague in PGH and other hospitals. As the pioneer in interventional pediatric cardiology in the country, he is well known for his passion and dedication to kids with congenital heart problems; regardless of their status, he will do everything for his patients.
“He also has this uncanny ability to teach and communicate complex medical problems in simpler, easily understandable terms for his trainees and patients, as well, which may be the reason why he was chosen to be the spokesperson of PGH.
“When the pandemic hit and PGH was chosen to be one the COVID referral centers, he did not hesitate to join the Crisis Management Team of the hospital, notwithstanding the danger and sacrifices it entails. He’s been in and out of the hospital almost every day to help in planning, gathering donations, making rounds in the COVID wards and updating the media on the status of the hospital in response to the pandemic.
“He tested positive for COVID-19 himself last April and was quarantined for a few days, but as soon as he tested negative and got clearance from the hospital infection control committee, he immediately went back to work.
“Even during the pandemic, he was instrumental in devising a scheme for the hospital to continue seeing not only COVID patients, but also non-COVID patients needing the expertise of PGH doctors, especially pediatric patients with critical congenital heart disease. Unfortunately, he tested positive again for COVID last week of July and, this time around, he had severe symptoms and difficulty breathing, and was admitted at PGH for respiratory support and treatment.
“But even in his hospital bed, he continues to be active in hospital operations, communicating with hospital officials and media alike, showing just how dedicated he is in trying to help the country fight this pandemic.”
Dr. Jubert Benedicto: “He is a focused spokesperson, really trying to put out valid PGH news through the media. Mahaba ang patience with media.
“But he is a difficult patient. Nangunguna pa sa mga orders ng doctors when he was admitted. Making rounds with him feels na mare-revalida ka at madaming tanong. Sometimes I have to say, ‘Kami na ang bahala sa yo. Ako ang mag-update sa wife mo. Your task is just to rest and try to get some sleep.’ Mahirap maging spokesperson ng isang spokesperson.”
Jonas, we pray for your complete recovery, and that of your parents, too. Doctors like you, and the selfless service you give to your patients and your country, are the much-needed ray of hope we all need in these challenging times to see us through.