PANDEMIC WARRIORS GONE TOO SOON
RECENTLY, social media was overflowing with tributes to five doctors who have made the ultimate sacrifice of dying for the country to save their fellow Filipinos from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The four gallant doctors were Dr. Raul Diaz Jara, Dr. Israel Bactol, Dr. Greg Macasaet, Dr. Rose Pulido, and Dr. Fernandez.
“We may have lost you in the battlefield but your spirit strengthens us more in our resolve to carry on this fight to the end,” one tribute said.
It was the tribute to Dr. Romeo Gregorio “Greg” N. Macasaet by his wedding godchild, Aboy Paraiso, that moved many to tears.
In his Facebook post, Aboy said he had deactivated his Facebook account for many years but came back to tell Dr. Macasaet’s story before he deactivates again.
Aboy recounted the many years of friendship with his ninong and Freemason brother, but among the things that struck the most in his narrative were the messages sent to him by Dr. Macasaet about his struggle against the new coronavirus.
In his messages, Dr. Macasaet said he and his wife (Dr. Evalyn, who is also afflicted with COVID-19) “are in Isolation rooms with no visual communication from each other.”
Dr. Macasaet further wrote (slightly edited for clarity): “It started several days ago when I experienced very high grade fever followed by a really bad cough. Upon admission, things started to turn worse. Most hospitals will refuse admission for obvious reasons and will insist you go to a government facility. Upon my insistence, only then will they test you. I am sure the numbers of positive cases are already very very high. As the hours pass, you will experience a terrible headache and your entire body will be very weak and painful. You will lose your appetite and taste but it is important you consume fluids, nutrients and especially medication which among us Doctors we take. The feeling you will experience is really very very bad. I guess that is what causes the increased mortalities in the immunocompromised sector of society. FYI, they will not tell you any real statistics. Suffice it to say that two of (the patients in) my neighbor rooms here already went into cardiac arrest as well. I already signed specific instructions for no heroic measures. You will no longer see the bodies in case that happens. Best wishes KUYA Aboy! May you have a long happy life as blessed as mine!”
A photo of Dr. Macasaet’s “specific instructions” also circulated In social media. He requested in the event of his demise that he and his family be accorded the rites that he may be entitled to and that he gives explicit permission for them to perform such rites.
In his post, Aboy said Dr. Greg and wife Dr. Evalyn “chose to stay at their post, stay beside their patients, stay true to their oath and calling as doctors sacrificing themselves and their family. And now Kuya Greg has made the ultimate sacrifice of life, not because he was forced or obliged to do so, but because of his dedication to his craft and his constant devotion to be of service to others.”
Dr. Macasaet’s brother, Director Toti Macasaet of the Office of the Senate Legal Counsel, asked that he be tagged in my posts about his brother so that his sister-in-law, Dr. Evalyn, could read the tributes to her dear husband. Toti clarified though that unlike what has been circulating in social media, Dr. Evalyn is not in ICU but in isolation. He likewise prays for her to get well soon for the sake of her son Raymond who has autism.
The nation deeply mourns the passing of our pandemic warrior heroes who have gone too soon from this world. Thank you for your sacrifice.