Two more doctors succumbed to the COVID-19 coronavirus on Tuesday— bringing the total across the country to 14—just a day after President Rodrigo Duterte promised health workers they would get “everything they require” to stave off the global pandemic.
READ: RITM chief, 8 other doctors virus victims
In Cebu City, oncologist Dennis Tudtud passed away on his son's birthday—and just four days after his wife, pathologist Helen Tudtud, also died due to COVID-19.
Their son, Dennis Thomas Tudtud, confirmed this in his Facebook post Tuesday, saying he and his sister, Debbie, are "in deep sorrow that God had to take both of them."
Dr. Helen, 66, died of Covid-19 on March 27, 11 days after she was admitted to Perpetual Succor Hospital.
"Our Daddy Dennis has joined Mommy Helen. My sister and I are in deep sorrow that God had to take both of them, but I take comfort that they are happy together in their journey to paradise," Dennis Thomas said.
In Manila, Dr. Leandro “Jun” L. Resurreccion III, one of the country's few pediatric transplant surgeons, lost a three-week battle with the disease, his children also said on social media.
“There were no hugs, there were no kisses, and there were no goodbyes.
As a matter of fact, the last time I saw him, he was still able to smile. It gives you a kind of heartbreak that I cannot even explain,” his son, Leandro Castillo Resurreccion IV said in a Facebook post
“It is with our deepest sorrows to say that he has lost the battle. He passed away this morning in the ICU of the Philippine General Hospital,” Pia Isabel Resurreccion, his daughter, posted.
“Although we could not see him through this ordeal, he was under the best care of his PGH family. For all their efforts, we are truly grateful. We would also like to thank everyone who helped us through these trying times,” she added.
Meanwhile, in a televised public address late Monday, Duterte revealed that the government is deploying the resources of government to provide frontline health workers with “everything they require so they can save as many lives as possible”.
READ: Another frontline doctor passes on, several colleagues under treatment
“We are now procuring medical supplies, devices, and personal protective equipment,” he said.
The President said about one million medical protective items are being acquired, with the government and the private sector working together to purchase or produce the necessary quantities.
Still, the Philippine General Hospital's current supply of protective gear for its workers tending to patients with the novel coronavirus will run out in the next two weeks, its spokesperson said. Willie Casas, Francisco Tuyay and Rey E. Requejo
The PGH, which the Health department tapped as one of three hospitals dedicated to COVID-19, can stretch its personal protective equipment to two weeks if staff use 500 units a day and only a week if 1,000 units are used daily, said hospital spokesperson Dr. Jonas Del Rosario.
The demand for PPEs will depend on the influx of patients, he said.
The state-run hospital allocated 130 beds for COVID-19 patients. It has accepted 23 patients who tested positive for the respiratory disease and "50 plus" patients under investigation who have symptoms, said Del Rosario.
Meanwhile, Philippine National Police chief Gen. Archie Gamboa on Tuesday directed policemen to ensure the safety of all medical staff and health workers against potential attacks.
“I have directed all local police units to provide every possible assistance and security to medical staff and health workers following the two separate incidents of violent attacks in Cebu and Sultan Kudarat in recent days,” Gamboa said.
“This is a duty that we in the police service must extend to our fellow frontliners who stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Filipino people in this global battle against the COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.
The Integrated Bar of the Philippines also appealed to the public not to discriminate against COVID-19 medical personnel and patients because they deserve support, especially during this time of crisis.
In a statement, the IBP vowed to provide legal assistance to health workers, front liners and patients who are experiencing various forms of discrimination.
"The Integrated Bar of the Philippines calls out undue discrimination against COVID-19 health workers, other front liners and patients denied entry to boarding houses, denied transportation, denied admission in some hospitals and other forms of discrimination," the country’s mandatory lawyers’ group said.
The IBP urged the public not to succumb to fear or panic "that diminishes our humanity as well as our support and compassion for the victims and front liners in the health emergency."
"Precautionary measures are understandable and desirable but they should remain reasonable and remain within the bounds of law," the lawyers’ group stressed.
READ: Doctor in Lionair plane crash gave grim reminder to patientsREAD: PH cases: 638, deaths: 38; provincial doctor new casualty
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