"I was aware of the Filipino people’s resiliency, but what I saw there drove it home for me,” Dr. Hugh Parsons, a visiting Canadian ophthalmologist who is married to Filipino physician Dr. Tina Aquino, said as he headed a 15-member team of doctors, nurses and medical staff to take care of the victims of calamity in the city of Guilhulngan, Negros Oriental, Philippines, badly hit by the recent 6.9-magnitude earthquake, the Inquirer said.
Dr. Parsons who had also conducted medical missions in China, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Thailand, watched in awe how Filipino nurses worked through the night attending to injured victims as they were rushed in, many sustaining fractures, cuts and abrasions from falling debris, some critically ill, fighting for their lives, while others were brought in already dead.
He said “they were running out of medical supplies, local anesthetics, sutures, syringes and needles, have no capability to sterilize hospital equipment,” and pressed for room to treat patients with serious conditions, but hospital staff were always ready to work and help each other and were even polite and managed to wear a smile after having had their hands full with people coming in and out.
He said he sutured a lot of wounds without anesthesia and put makeshift splints on broken bones after lacking supplies to set fractures and the staff “all seemed to have this ‘yes, we can’ attitude, and the spirit of wanting to help in whatever way they could.”
One of the nurses even refused to budge to leave her post, in spite of her father who was reported to be at the center of the trouble. She later learned, four of her daughter’s classmates and neighbors died during the disaster.
As of Friday, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported the death toll has risen to 39 people and 66 missing including the 71 people buried in landslides in Guihulngan.