'A casualty of war': Young cardiologist passes away due to COVID-19
Another doctor died at the hands of the novel coronavirus on Saturday afternoon.
Image by Frank Hull on Pixabay
'A casualty of war': Young cardiologist passes away due to COVID-19
Franco Luna (Philstar.com) - March 22, 2020 - 3:46pm

MANILA, Philippines — The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) claimed the life of another health practitioner on Friday afternoon. 

Although unnamed in all accounts mentioning him, the victim was a young cardiologist fellow in training who was supposedly infected with the pathogen. 

According to a statement issued by the Philippine Heart Association, the doctor passed away "while fulfilling his duties as a doctor."

"It is a sad day for the whole association as we have lost one of our own in the fight against COVID. He is a casualty of this war," the statement read. 

In the absence of data on new patients and deaths, it is unclear if the victim was among the most recently recorded death toll by the Department of Health.

Health workers at the frontlines on long shifts are among those most exposed to the virus. 

In a statement issued on Sunday, healthcare group Coalition for People's Right to Health (CPRH) called for more support to be afforded to health workers, whom the group said was among those most vulnerable and at risk amid the outbreak of the virus.

READ: Groups call for COVID-19 testing, better support and pay for health workers

"From experiencing mandatory quarantine to severe cases of respiratory distress and now even death, health professional and workers are literally giving their lives in the service of the nation and its people during this pandemic," the statement read. 

"Beyond PUIs and surveillance, health workers must be regarded as a high-risk population that is tested regularly (such as every two weeks), in order to guide hospitals and facilities in monitoring and rotating the already overburdened frontliners, of whom the medical community cannot afford to lose any further."

For their part, the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila said the doctor, who was an alumnus of the school, was an individual "who chose to serve the country but lost his life in the fight against COVID-19."

"He was a scholar whose humble beginnings guided his future. He was doctor to the barrio and a hero," the university said. 

It is not clear if the two posts are referring to the same person, though Philstar.com has already reached out to both pages for confirmation. 

Elsewhere, health workers continue to endure the struggle that came with fighting a global epidemic. 

One ranking member of the Health department also tested positive for the disease on Tuesday, the department confirmed in a statement earlier this week. 

READ: DOH director tests positive for COVID-19

"He wanted to go back to the province to help his parents," one Twitter user said of the doctor.

"He was a simple guy and very polite, [and his] parents and family were not even there to be with him to the very end. It killed a dream."

"A just compensation, hazard pay, humane working hours and provision of PPEs is just as important as the respect and honesty that is owed to the toiling frontliners, with or without COVID-19. Now more than ever, the government must ensure the safety and dignity of these health care workers facing the brunt of this disease," CPRH said in their statement. 

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