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The Little Prince and the Miracle Workers

Last Saturday, May 26, 2007, upon the invitation of PGH Neurosurgery’s Chief, Dr Gap Legaspi, I went to PGH to observe their mission for children with hydrocephalus and cranio-facial disorders.

They do this mission 3-4 times a year as there are just too many indigent patients in need of surgery that cannot be accommodated during the regular days.

I got there late morning and suited up in scrubs, nice color but not dri-fit as Dr Gap had promised me:(

There were five operating rooms being utilized. We met his energetic staff and colleagues, all of whom gave up their Saturday to join this mission without pay to make a difference in the lives of 14 young children, including Dra Kay Pioquinto neurosurgery’s chief resident. A girl! Yeh! Also met Dra. Geraldine Jose, the first and only neuro-anaesthisiologist in the country. Another girl, yeh!

I saw kids with bumps and swellings on their faces and heads that distorted their beautiful faces. This 20 month old child, nicknamed Prince had a sack of cerebro spinal fluid (CSF) that was already larger than his head. He just lied in bed because the sack was so heavy, he could barely move.

Dr Gap showed us around, explained a few cases to me (in very layman’s terms of course) and gave me a crash course in reading an xray. Wow, I actually can point out the fluid in an xray headshot. He also showed us the new pedia surgery rooms, renovated courtesy of Rotary Club San Juan del Monte.

Back to the little Prince, we met his worried parents in the corridor as they waited for him to be rolled into the OR. His mom silently wept as they put him on the operating table.

I lightly tapped her shoulder and smiled (yeah as if she could see my smile under the mask I was wearing). I felt her pain all too well, because.. well, my son had lived in a hospital all his life and I know what a mother feels.

Dr Gap and his staff went about their job. A little past 2:00 the little prince was freed from that sack of fluid which he had carried with him in the back of his head, for all his life.

Like him, all the other 13 kids were successfully operated on. What a miracle. They would have wanted to do more kids, but this is a long tedious process.. and fatigue does take its toll even on miracle workers.

I take my hat off ( ALL the different kind I have – running caps, bike helmets, swim caps ete etc) to Dr Gap Legaspi and his team and all the other doctors and staff of PGH and health professionals like them, who choose spend a beautiful Saturday to give a child a new life

Now if only…

– Malacanang will allow DBM (the Department of Budget and Management) to release my funds for all the other projects I have pending in PGH including the Liver Center, the Women’s Desk, various hospital equipment (from my last count this totals close to P15Million)
– My funds for all the other hospitals like Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, the Provincil Hospital in Marinduque, and various health centers all over the country.
– DBM will release the allocation from the proceeds of VAT and SIN tax as specified in said laws for healthcare;
– if only more local governments would prioritize health care for their constituents;
– if only pumasa na sa Lower House ang bill on Cheaper Medicines which the senate has already passed;
– if only we could comply with the WHO minimum recommendation of allocating 5% of GDP to health, instead of our current 2+%.

ayy, if only..

Meanwhile, I’ve allocated P2million of my 2007 Priority Development Funds (otherwise knows as pork barrel) for the pediatric neurosurgery program of PGH.

But knowing the release of those funds will take a while, I’ve also pledged from my foundations (Companero Rene Cayetano Foundation and Gabriel Symphony Foundation to fund the salary of the nurses for the pediatric neurosurgery OR which according to Dr Gap will immediately allow them to start using the new Operating Rooms shown above and operate on 200 more patients a year. Imagine 200 more little princes will have a better life.

If anyone would like to contribute to our foundations for this project which is so so deserving please contact Mailet Bonoan at at 09177008665 or Dr Gap Legaspi’s office at 5242338.

Until then, preventive health care muna tayo… Jogging, jogging or other forms of exercise, good nutrition and healthy living, pampatanggal na ng stress, pampapayat at pampalusog diba?

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