Dr. Romeo Gregorio ‘Greg’ N. Macasaet III.
A tribute to our fallen heroes
MIKE ABOUT TOWN - Mike Toledo (The Philippine Star) - May 19, 2020 - 12:00am

I will use my power to help the sick to the best of my ability and judgment.”

Immortal words that ring true in the Hippocratic Oath sworn to by doctors in the medical profession.

In a similar vein, registered nurses take what is known as the Nightingale Pledge to “practice my profession faithfully” and to “devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.”

With utmost fidelity to their oath, we see the dedication, commitment, perseverance, patience, and even zeal of doctors and nurses, as well as all others in the health care sector like medical technologists, emergency response technicians, and the like, in treating, testing, and healing those stricken with COVID-19.

Their sacrifice is beyond measure, especially during these times.

They are our frontliners, our modern-day heroes.

It is, thus, tragic that those who are in the frontlines and in the trenches in these battles against the disease, in this global war against the SARS-COV-2 virus, those who we rely on with our very lives, also fall victim to the disease’s fatal hand.

Oftentimes, their dedication borders on martyrdom as they go into battle at times bereft of the necessary equipment and means of protection.

I devote this space in honor of all our fallen COVID-19 heroes. But for space constraints, let me, for the moment, share the heroism of those who come from my alma mater, the University of the Philippines.

As you read their names and gaze at their faces and photos, please say a prayer for the repose of their souls and that their untimely deaths would not have been in vain:

Dr. Romeo Gregorio N. Macasaet, BS Psychology 1977, MD 1983, an anesthesiologist with the Manila Doctors Hospital who was the first UP alumnus to fall victim to the disease on March 22, 2020; Pampanga’s provincial health officer, Dr. Marcelo Y. Jaochico, Master in Hospital Administration 1998, who died on March 24, 2020;

Renowned cardiologist and former member of the famed UP Concert Chorus, Dr. Raul D. Jara, BS 1971 and MD 1975, who succumbed to the disease on March 24, 2020;

Noted geriatric cardiologist and brilliant academician Dr. Francisco Avelino S. Lukban, BS 1978, MD 1982, who passed away on March 25, 2020;

Pediatric infectious disease expert Dr. Salvacion Rodriguez Gatchalian, BS 1973, MD 1977, also a consultant and assistant director of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, who died on March 26, 2020; Architect Raul Della Eslao, RN, UPIS 1983, BS Architecture 1991, who passed away on March 31, 2020 as a registered nurse and frontliner in Michigan;

The country’s foremost and pioneering pediatric surgeon, Dr. Leandro L. Resurrecion III, UP PGH Pediatric Training 1983, who passed away on March 31, 2020 and was the chief of the pediatric surgery division of the Children’s Medical Center at the time;

The husband-and-wife team of noted Cebu oncologist Dr. Dennis Ramon M. Tudtud, BS 1975 and MD 1979, and Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center pathologist,

Dr. Helen Evangelista Tudtud, who fell victims to the virus they fought bravely against, Dennis passing away on March 31, 2020, four days after, his wife Helen succumbed to the disease;

Pediatrician Dr. Ephraim Neal C. Orteza, BS Biology 1976, who served as medical director of both the Olivarez General Hospital and the Ospital ng Parañaque, passed away on April 8, 2020; Faye Marie L. Palafox, RN, BS Nursing 1995 and head nurse with the Hospital Infection Control unit at the Philippine General Hospital, who passed away on April 16, 2020 at the age of 46; and Dr. Eduardo P. Vidal, MD 1961, who passed away on April 16, 2020, in New Jersey, USA.

May their ultimate sacrifice be remembered by all beyond the august halls of the University of the Philippines campuses, and may we find inspiration and meaning in their untimely demise to rid our nation and the world of this deadly and dreadful disease.

Let me end with a quote from Hanya Yanagihara: “Let us find some comfort in the knowledge that we are preceded by centuries of human endurance.”

We will endure. Together, as one, we shall endure.


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