LOOK: Hospital at forefront of coronavirus fight celebrates 10th anniversary

Alecs Ongcal
LOOK: Hospital at forefront of coronavirus fight celebrates 10th anniversary

Alecs Ongcal

With patients arriving in droves due to the pandemic, the medical staff are left with no choice but to stay put and celebrate among themselves in a simple but meaningful way

MANILA, Philippines – They were supposed to be in their ball gowns and suits in a posh hotel, but instead, they found themselves wrapped in personal protective suits, still at their medical facility which had been converted into a dedicated hospital for COVID-19 patients. 

On Tuesday, April 28, the Sta. Ana Hospital in Manila turned a decade-old – a milestone worth celebrating. But with patients arriving in droves due to the pandemic, the medical staff were left with no choice but to stay put and celebrate among themselves in a simple but meaningful way.

WORK AS USUAL. Medical workers in full protective gear wait for the simple anniversary celebration to begin. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

 SIMPLE FEAST. Health workers prepare food to be distributed among the hospital staff. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

Paradox

In his homily, Greenbelt and Landmark Chaplain Fr. Jun Sascon relates the Santa Ana Hospital to a paradox: “Where sin abounds, grace abounds more. The sick are here, but the healers are here as well. Wherever there is wickedness and filth, we can also find cleanliness and beauty.”

The 10-story medical facility currently hosts the Manila Infectious Disease Control Center and is the city’s primary hospital for COVID-19 cases.  

 BLESSING. A celebratory mass was held in front of the main hospital doors in the morning. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

SAFER UNITS. Following the mass, Fr. Sascon blesses the newly-built quarantine rooms and other COVID-19 facilities. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

New decade, new life

Dr John Gerald Natividad, the hospital’s dentist, experienced the positive side of that paradox. The anniversary coincided with his return to work after contracting and recovering from COVID-19 himself.

“It was last March 24 when I first felt symptoms. I felt really tired and my resistance started to decline,” Natividad narrated. 

He admitted that he was not devout, but because of the disease, his faith eventually strengthened. “Just keep your faith and maintain your resistance,” Natividad adds.

 ‘BACK TO WORK’. Dr. Natividad proudly dons his coat inside the dental office. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

Since the hospital closed the rest of its medical services to concentrate on COVID-19, Natividad could not perform his duty as a dentist. Still, he wanted to give back to the institution that helped him get a new lease on life by volunteering as part of the hospital’s logistics team. 

CREATIVITY. Dr. Natividad’s playful coat hanger of protective gears, uniforms, and toys. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

Before capping the celebration, Sta. Ana Hospital officer-in-charge director Dr Grace Padilla highlighted the responsibility of health workers in a speech: “As stated by Roy T. Bennet, ‘Turn your obstacles into opportunities, and your problems into possibilities…Despite the threat brought to us by COVID-19, let us accept this wholeheartedly and take on the responsibility of managing this contagious disease,” she said.

CHEERS! Dr. Grace Padilla (right) symbolically receives 600 ice-cold milk tea for its staff from a generous donor. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

DANCE CHALLENGE. Sta. Ana Hospital’s medical staff in their colorful personal protective equipment dances the Fight Song #FrontlinersDanceChallenge as a tribute to their fellow frontliners to conclude the celebration. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

– Rappler.com

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