Tagaytay Medical Center: Tales of Love, Care, and Commitment During the Taal Volcano Eruption


How do you help others when you are also in need of help?

The eruption of the Taal Volcano last January 12, 2020 has affected the lives of the Filipinos not just in Batangas but also in the nearby provinces like Tagaytay City in Cavite and some areas in Laguna. I could not believe that the ash fall reached us in Rizal. I can only imagine how worst the situation was at the site of the eruption. While the people in Manila were amused (and concerned) with the dust and scrambling to hoard on face masks, the people in Batangas were running for their lives and leaving behind their homes and belongings. They were tired, hungry, afraid, and uncertain of what the coming weeks will bring.

The world doesn't stop for the people who are in healthcare. It is during these trying times when they are needed the most. The doctors, nurses, and staff  have to attend to the need of others even though most of them were also the victim of the calamity.

In Helping Others, You Help Yourself

Tagaytay Medical Center (TMC)  is the closest of the Mount Grace Hospitals, Inc. (MGHI) to Taal Volcano. TMC was at the center of emergency efforts to help those affected by the calamity. Even before the eruption, TMC has already been the hospital of choice for Tagaytay residents and tourists because of its comprehensive array of medical specialties.

The Taal eruption has tested the commitment of TMC and the hospital did not disappoint. They gave more than what was expected. The health workers thought more about the welfare of the patients and how to keep everybody safe. Dealing with a surge in patients admitted at the hospital while being swayed by earthquakes and power interruptions can be unnerving. But amid the challenges they were facing, TMC has maintained its composure. 

"Unang-unang pumasok sa isip ko is safety namin lahat. Safety ng pasyente, mga staff at syempre ng family ko. Iniisip ko kung paano ba naming maiilipat ng matiwasay ang pasyente."

Luther Melodias is one of the ER Nurse at TMC who was on duty on January 12. He said the scenario on that fateful day was very scary, stressful and traumatic. He prayed for the safety of everyone and put his trust in his colleagues.

In times of tragedy, the stories of those who help others are not just inspiring but also brings a sense of being connected to others and gives deeper meaning and purpose to the profession as healthcare professionals.

The Commitment to Serve

"I was honestly preoccupied with the safety of our patients at that time, especially those admitted in the ICU. I was also thinking of how I would respond to the situation given the unpredictability of the calamity."

Dr. Francis Olaso is an ER doctor on duty and has to make critical decisions. "We made sure that critical patients under ICU department would be transferred first", Dr. Olaso shared. The safety of the patients is non-negotiable. With the alert level 4 status, ambulances from TMC and other MGHI hospitals began transferring patients (especially ICU cases). 

The MGHI South Cluster hospitals have displayed how working together can reach more people in need. The Tagaytay Medical Center (TMC), Westlake Medical Center (WMC), and HealthServ Los BaƱos Medical Center (HSLB) joined forces to complement each other's resources to provide the best healthcare possible during the calamity. They have set an example of how hospitals should respond to disasters if a natural calamity strikes major urban areas. 

Caring Never Stop

The helping and caring go beyond the confines of the hospital. Many residents need medical consultation for skin allergies, minor wounds, and respiratory illnesses. A week after the volcanic eruption, TMC and other members of the South Cluster group have conducted relief operations and medical missions in the affected communities. 

It will take a while for the residents of Batangas to live a normal life. But knowing that there are generous people and TMC healthcare professionals who remain dedicated to their call of duty are enough reasons to calm their hearts.