A hospital for the poor
- Art Borjal () - April 4, 2000 - 12:00am

Several days ago, I was approached by a young hotel worker, the only breadwinner of the family, to tell me of his family's awesome predicament. His father, a retiree from a private company, had suffered a stroke, and he had to be rushed to the charity ward of a private hospital in Quezon City. To save the father's life, a respirator had to be attached to his nose, so that he could breathe.

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Several days later, the hospital bills piled up. When the family ran out of money to settle the bills, which, as the hospital demanded, should be paid on a daily basis, the hospital removed the respirator hooked to the patient's nose. It was only after a deposit of P2,000 was made, that the hospital agreed to reconnect the respirator attached to the patient's nose.

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During the period of 24 hours that the patient had no respirator, he went through convulsions four times. Yes, he was near death. It was only after the payment of P2,000 was made and after the respirator was rehooked that the patient was able to weather the crisis and renew his struggle to survive.

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The plight of the hotel worker's father is very common. It is being experienced, day by day, by hundreds of thousands of sick persons who come from very poor families. If they only had a hospital that they could run to, when tragedy strikes, these poor families would somehow be spared the agony and trauma that they are now going through, because of their poverty, and because of the private hospital's inhumanity to man.

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I was thus surprised when I read about a Catholic nun's criticism of the financial assistance being given by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office to a Hospital for the Poor, as envisioned by a foundation chaired by the eminent Jesuit priest, Fr. James B. Reuter. Why rant and rave against the appropriation for the hospital, when there are so many impoverished Filipinos who need such a hospital? And to think that the hospital is going to be run by Catholic nuns belonging to the order of St. Paul.

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Rey de la Cruz of 2117 Ammer Ridge Court, Glenview, Illinois, USA, a special education teacher and a playwright-director in Chicago, is a great fan of Felicisimo "Mighty Mite" H. Ampon, who placed the Philippines in the world map of tennis. De la Cruz is at present writing a magazine article about Ampon, who retired and died in Highland Park, Illinois, in 1997, and who is described as "the greatest Filipino tennis player of all time."

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Research work by De la Cruz showed that Ampon is listed in several tennis literature, including Bud Collin's Tennis Encyclopedia, the bible of the tennis world. In 1940, at the Far Eastern Athletic Games in Tokyo, Ampon beat Fumitero Nakano, the Japanese master of clay court. In 1948, Ampon triumphed over Heraldo Weiss of Argentina in the All-England Plate of Wimbledon. And Ampon's crowning glory came in 1950 when he played against Tom Brown of the USA at the Pan-American Tennis Championship in Mexico, where he triumphed.

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In his letter to me, De la Cruz asked for help in convincing the Philippine Postal Corporation to come out with a postage stamp featuring Totoy Ampon. There is every reason for Postmaster General Nicasio P. Rodriguez to accede to this request.

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PULSEBEAT: My book, Walking Through the Pathways of Life, is now available at National Bookstore branches in Biñan, Laguna; Imus and Bacoor, Cavite . . . When you see grapes in grocery stores, think twice before buying them. Were any carcinogenic pesticides used to grow them? Were they genetically altered, or were they treated with radiation? In other words, are those grapes organic? . . . Organic food is eight times more likely to kill people with deadly E. coli bacteria because organic farming uses manure. No matter what they buy, consumers should thoroughly wash all fruits and vegetables, even those with rinds . . . Most food products, with their attractive labels and packaging, have travelled more than a thousand miles before they reach the consumers' table. During that travel time, they must have lost a lot of nutrients. Which is different from food that is grown locally and organically by small-scale farmers, and eaten immediately after harvest.

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Art A. Borjal's e-mail address: <jwalker@tri-isys.com>

ALL-ENGLAND PLATE OF WIMBLEDON AMMER RIDGE COURT AMPON ART A BUD COLLIN CENTER CRUZ FAR EASTERN ATHLETIC GAMES FUMITERO NAKANO HOSPITAL
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