Upland Capiz hospital struggles to treat Yolanda patients

Razel Mae Angaray, Caesar Ryan Rosales
The number of patients has doubled at the hospital in Barangay Salong. It needs immediate donations – medical supplies, water, roofs.

DONATIONS NEEDED. The number of patients has doubled at the damaged Tapaz District Hospital in Capiz. Photo by Jonathan Japitana, Typhoon Yolanda Story Hub Visayas

CAPIZ, Philippines – The district hospital in the town of Tapaz continues to accommodate patients amid the difficulties and apprehension caused by Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) that barreled through the upland village of Salong.

Dr Jean Gloria, 52, general practitioner of Barangay Salong, witnessed how the number of of the sick and wounded ballooned in the aftermath of the typhoon.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases (COPD) like asthma, pneumonia, and emphysema are the primary concerns of patients during and after the typhoon, she said.

“We only have a 25-bed capacity in our hospital and when the typhoon struck, a total of 50 patients were admitted in the medical center,” Gloria said, sadness apparent in her voice.

The Tapaz District Hospital is semi-concrete, located in Salong, 4 kilometers away from the town proper. It needs immediate assistance for the reconstruction of the roofs, to acquire extra beddings, have clean water for patients, and have power supply and medicines for those with COPD.

“The excess patients have no choice but to bring their own folding beds, foams, and native mats because the hospital’s own beddings are very limited,” said Gloria.

“There was a MOA (Memorandum of Agreement) [signed] by the governor, which states that the hospital could get their necessities from the private sectors free of charge,” she said.

Anita Gloria, 60, nursing attendant at the hospital, said some patients were transferred to the conference room and wards while the others went home because rain water had entered the room through the damaged roof.

During the typhoon, 4 pregnant women gave birth, assisted by the hospital’s senior nurse. Unfortunately, their records were washed away by the rain.

Marilou Camacho, a 44-year-old patient from Artus village, witnessed what happened in the hospital.

“I had cyanosis during the typhoon and this made my sickness worse after having complications from asthma, pneumonia, and leukemia,” she said, crying.

The doctors of Tapaz District Hospital ordered an immediate blood transfusion for Marilou. Unfortunately, her blood type, AB, was difficult to source from donors.

“My husband and I are just farmers and we cannot sustain the blood transfusion every time my doctors request for some bags of it,” Camacho said.

Her family was also affected by the typhoon and their house was totally damaged. Her children are staying with their relatives in Barangay Ilawod who themselves are struggling to rehabilitate their home and lives.

“Blood donation and financial assistance are the things I would like to ask from those who will read our story,” she said. – Rappler.com

(The writers are volunteers for the Typhoon Yolanda Story Hub Visayas, a citizen journalism portal created on Nov 13, 2013, by veteran journalists, student writers, mobile journalists, and photographers based in Iloilo City. The Hub delivers reports from across the Panay Island, especially the severely damaged and minimally covered northern Iloilo and the provinces of Antique, Capiz, and Aklan.)

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