Cabaero: No special treatment

Nini Cabaero

AMONG the practices that should be suspended nowadays is the one on government officials getting privileges not given to the majority.

This is about government officials, including their family members, getting tested for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) within the comforts of their homes. Not only do they deprive those needing urgently the limited number of test kits but they also take away health practitioners, the frontliners, from the hospitals or medical facilities where they are supposed to be stationed.

One such official is Sen. Francis Tolentino who posted on his Facebook account a photo of him smiling after he was found negative of the virus that causes the Covid-19. An unidentified doctor or nurse was beside him. I say one such official because there may be others who feel they are special and should be given priority for the tests.

This should be stopped immediately to prioritize those who need the test urgently. Those not a priority, like Senator Toletino, should wait like the rest of the Filipinos.

According to the Department of Health (DOH) guidelines, only those patients who are symptomatic or those with “severe and critical symptoms” are to be tested. These symptoms are fever, cough or shortness of breath or other respiratory symptoms and diarrhea. The DOH said there is no need to test those who are under investigation for possible infection, but they should stay on home quarantine.

Toletino said he had a dry cough for several days but, under the DOH algorithm, he should not have been entitled to the test.

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There are many examples of selflessness, of putting others before self, in this time of Covid-19. Extraordinary example of this is the work done by three doctors who ended up giving their lives.

Cardiologist Israel Bactol from the Philippine Heart Center, anesthesiologist Gregorio Macasaet III of Manila Doctors Hospital and an oncologist at the San Juan de Dios Hospital succumbed to the disease last week. Government commended them for their “selfless and heroic deeds” in battling Covid-19.

Then, there is the Covid Ask Force of the Lung Center of the Philippines on Facebook. The ask force (notice there’s no “t”) is a group of volunteer doctors of the Lung Center willing to take questions from the public about the Covic-19 from Monday to Saturday, 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The intention is to make medical assistance accessible to anybody with a Facebook Messenger account in an effort to decongest emergency rooms of hospitals. The ask force will tell the patient if there is need to go to the emergency room for further tests and treatment.

This is an example of using technology to help the public.

I’m sure there are many other examples of selflessness and willingness to help others and so, to them, I say thank you.