Dr. Reino Palacpac or ‘Dr. Nong’ to those who know him personally, the doctor from the Jose Abad Santos General Hospital who succumbed to COVID-19 recently at a very young age of 30, must have really been well-loved by his peers and subordinates.
A number of friends whose lives he apparently touched were all requesting that he be lauded to the fullest for his kindness and good work, in case we will write about his passing.
Dr. Nong, I learned, was taken in by Dr. Ted Martin during the time of Mayor Fred Lim, way back in 2010. Dr. Martin, whom we fondly call ‘Doc Ted,’ was the one who established the groundwork as the first director of the then Justice Abad Santos Mother and Child Hospital until it levelled up to become a general hospital. It is now called ‘JASGEN’ for brevity.
A pediatrician, Dr. Nong was known for being super friendly, even as Doc Ted described him as a man with positive disposition ----consistently mild –mannered and always smiling.
Unlike some doctors who keep themselves on a pedestal, Dr. Nong, according to Doc Ted, always shared his food when going on duty.
When there was a program in Korea sponsoring five patients with congenital heart disease for free operation, Doc Ted made the necessary arrrangements. He was then instructed by Mayor Lim to send the poor patients to Korea.
Wasting no time, Doc Ted, who currently heads the Gat Andres Bonifacio Memorial Medical Center in Tondo, immediately prepared the patients and looked for a pediatrician who will accompany the poor, young patients for one month.
When he asked Dr. Nong if he would like to handle the cases, Doc Ted said he did not mince words and was just all too willing to accompany the patients.
Doc Ted said he made the right decision in entrusting the patients to Dr. Nong as the operation became successful. After one month, Dr. Nong returned with the happy patients and Mayor Lim was also elated that he even presented the success of the operation to the media.
Dr. Nong, still according to Doc Ted, went on duty 40 hours a week at JASGEN as a pediatrician during his time and up to his passing, he was also a faculty member at the Fatima Medical Center School of Medicine, holding clinic in the Tondo area.
The new chief of JASGEN, Dr. Merle Sacdalan, echoed the description of Doc Ted, as she described the late doctor also as ‘a mild-mannered, dedicated and compassionate pediatrician who was well-loved by his patients and his co-workers.’
Dr. Sacdalan said Dr. Nong was one of the pioneers of JJASGH who had served the hospital since its opening up to the time of his passing.
“He got infected with this dreaded virus doing his life’s mission of serving Filipino children. Dr. Nong’s heart for service was very much evident up to the end of his life, thinking of how he could go on duty again once he recovers. But GOD might be in need of a selfless pediatrician and a kind soul in heaven. He succumbed to complications of his illness today (July 07, 2020) at 10:07am.,” went Dr. Sacdalan’s message.
“The entire JJASGH Family is grateful for your life and service, Dr. Nong! We will miss you! Our sincerest condolences and prayers to your family and friends. Rest now in the bosom of the Almighty!,” she added.
Mayor Isko Moreno said Dr. Nong is a modern-day hero whose passing should inspire others in the same field of undertaking to do better in fighting COVID-19.
The deeply-saddened mayor said he takes his hats off to Dr. Nong for his selfless dedication and commitment to save lives, at the expense of his own. Ditto with all the medical frontliners in Manila.
Let us all pray for the eternal repose of Dr. Nong’s soul and may COVID-19 stop claiming lives.
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