Cavite loses beloved surgeon to pandemic

CAVITE Rep. Elpidio “Pidi” Barzaga Jr. has expressed his deep sadness over the passing of a Cavite surgeon who was among the medical frontliners who have given their lives in the fight against the coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Barzaga, who is president of the National Unity Party (NUP), said Dr. Ronaldo Mateo, 47, a graduate of the UST College of Medicine, succumbed to the disease last April 5.

“The province has lost a son to this pandemic,” Barzaga said. “Ipinahahatid ng Pamahalaang Lungsod ang taimtim na pakikiramay sa kanyang mga kapamilya at kaibigan,” he said in a separate Facebook post.

Barzaga said the Mateo was one of the pioneer doctors at the Pagamutan ng Dasmariñas who had served as head of its surgery department until the time of his death.

“Ang kanyang katapangan sa pagtupad ng kanyang tungkulin bilang medical frontliner sa gitna ng kinakaharap na krisis ay hindi malilimutan kailanman,” he said.

In honor of the late doctor’s heroism and dedication to his sworn duty, Barzaga said operating room complex of the city hospital will be named after the late surgeon and will now be called the “Dr. Ronaldo Mateo Operating Room Complex.”

The lawmaker joined the whole country in giving tribute to all medical frontliners who are risking their lives in the war against the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We feel your pain. We’ve lost one of our own in this battle. I salute all our frontliners for their bravery and sacrifice. They are putting lives on the line to save the lives of others,” Barzaga said.

Just last Tuesday, the Makati Medical Center announced the death of Dr. Roberto “Bobby” Anastacio, a cardiovascular medicine specialist who was also in the frontline against COVID-19.

It was not yet clear if the doctor, who had worked at the hospital for 30 years, died of the disease, MMC said dedication was what “led him to fight at the COVID-19 frontline.”

While the Department of Health (DOH) has said that 12 healthcare workers have so far of the disease but the Philippine Medical Association claims that 17 doctors have already died from COVID-19.

The same group said the deaths could have been prevented had there been enough personal protective equipment (PPE) such as N95 masks, surgical gowns, gloves, head cover and foot covers.

Early this month, some 15,000 sets of PPEs purchased by the DPH were already distributed to health workers.

The DOH has said the rest of the one million PPE sets will arrive between April 6 and 24. The new sets of PPEs that are worth P1.8billion will be given to referral hospitals for COVID-19 patients in  Luzon.