Addressing the specific needs of hospitals that are close to reaching full capacity in their care of COVID-19 patients, Tzu Chi Foundation recently donated high-flow nasal cannula oxygen machines to Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital (DJNRMH) in Tala, Caloocan City, and Amang Rodriguez Memorial Medical Center (ARMMC) in Marikina. The machines supply heated oxygen to severe COVID-19 patients without cutting through or entering body parts.
“We have 19 of these machines in our hospital now and all are being used,” says DJNRMH Medical Center Chief II Dr. Alfonso Famaran Jr. “The eight that we received from Tzu Chi will go straight to our patients.”
As a designated end hospital, DJNRMH accepts moderate, severe, and critical COVID-19 cases from anywhere in the Philippines. Its youngest patient is a 36-hour-old baby, while the patient who traveled the farthest for treatment came all the way from Mindanao. DJNRMH’s healthcare workers have not been spared from the highly transmissible virus, either: 96 of its staff tested positive for COVID-19, most of them either asymptomatic or mild.
As of this writing, 452 of the 520 beds allotted to COVID-19 patients are occupied. DJNRMH does not receive non-COVID-19 cases at the moment.
For ARMMC, the three high-flow nasal cannula oxygen machines donated by Tzu Chi came at the right time. “We have 13 machines but two are under repair,” says Nelson R. Sobredo, ARMMC administrative officer III.
The hospital, which receives COVID-positive patients from Rizal Province, Quezon City, and Marikina City, has a 140-bed capacity for COVID-19 cases. As of this writing, 115 patients with moderate cases are admitted in the hospital. Four tents with a 10-15-bed capacity for COVID-19 patients are already full.
As for its 1,600 healthcare workers, 69 front-liners who deal directly with COVID patients tested positive for the coronavirus; most are asymptomatic.
According to Sobredo, it was Tzu Chi that emailed ARMMC, offering to extend any assistance to the hospital. “Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve received a lot of PPEs from Tzu Chi. We’re very thankful to be among their beneficiaries. Tzu Chi doesn’t just help our healthcare workers, they help our patients too.”
“The good thing about Tzu Chi Foundation is that they don’t just donate—they ask what you need,” stresses Dr. Famaran, whose hospital has been a beneficiary of the foundation for the past three years. “Others will just donate based on their own assumption of what you need, they sometimes give us things that we don’t necessarily need or can use. Tzu Chi is different. ‘What do you need?’ they ask us. So whatever they donate doesn’t just help. It saves lives.”
Founded in 1964, Amang Rodriguez Memorial Medical Center is considered a referral center for complicated cases in the eastern part of Rizal and other provinces. In 2007, its bed capacity was increased from 150 to 300, as per RA 9419.
Established in 1940 and formerly known as Tala Leprosarium, Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital opened to non-Hansen’s Disease patients in 1970.