June 24, 2024

They are not graduates or recipients of awards or commendations; but the people and institutions that took care of them consider their triumph a great feat worthy of a celebration.

This is why when hospitals discharge patients who recovered from the coronavirus disease-2019 (Covid-19), the staff arrange for them formal send-off rites, which has become the new norm for hospitals treating those who acquired the infection.

In Baguio and Benguet hospitals, flowers, balloons, banners conveying congratulatory messages, and a party of well-wishers await patients who walk or wheeled out of the wards designated as isolation areas for those who contracted but declared free of the Covid-19 infection.

These send-off rites have become the counterpart of a welcome party families usually arrange for a member who come home from the hospital, that is, if they are befallen by an illness during “normal” times.

At the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center where most of the Covid-19 patients in the region had been referred, the medical team and their staff members make sure the survivors are given appropriate “graduation” ceremonies.

On April 17, the BGHMC released from confinement a father and son who recovered from the Covid-19. They are the 8th and 9th patient to be discharged from BGHMC.

As what it has been doing for Covid-19 survivors, the BGHMC held send-off ceremonies for the latest recovered patients.

On April 14, the BGHMC sent off the city’s 12th Covid-19 survivor, Dr. Manuel Kelly, a frontliner in the battle against the infection. Baguio City has recorded 17 positive cases as of April 16.

During the send-off, Kelly, like the other survivors ahead of them, expressed his utmost gratitude to the BGHMC medical team and hospital personnel who attended to his needs during his two-week confinement.

“Even if they know I am a Covid-positive patient, the janitors and staff still attended to my needs without hesitation, so thank you very much,” Kelly said in his speech.

He also urged the BGHMC led by Dr. Ricardo Ruñez, Jr. who greeted him during his discharge, to stay strong and continue fighting the pandemic.

A day before Kelly’s discharge, BGHMC sent home another healthcare worker, Joel Junsay.

In an interview posted by the BHGMC on its Facebook, Junsay described as excellent the treatment he received from the medical team and hospital staff members.

“I would say that the care I received at the BGHMC is excellent. The doctors, nurses, and every personnel coming in to the isolation rooms took care of me, not just as a patient, but as a family,” he said.

He also asked the public not to discriminate healthcare workers who are fighting the infection and families of those who contracted the Covid-19.

On April 8, one of the survivors who was also sent home by the BGHMC expressed gratitude for the treatment she received.

“Thank you for the effort in providing my needs during my stay in the hospital. I believe that thanking you is not enough but for now it’s the best that I can do. Because of all of you, I can now say that I’m a Covid-19 survivor,” the patient said in the message, also shared through the BGHMC’s Facebook.

The same send-off rites are done by the Saint Louis Hospital of the Sacred Heart, Notre Dame de Chartes Hospital, and at the Benguet General Hospital in La Trinidad for Covid-19 patients who have recovered.

As of press time, 14 Covid-19 patients from Baguio were discharged three each in Benguet and Abra.

What’s special too about these rites is not only the presence of the chiefs of hospitals but also the local chief executives who witness and cheer on the patients for their victory over the infection.

Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong and Benguet Gov. Melchor Diclas have been attending the hospitals’ send-off for their respective Covid-19 survivors.

And while governments across the globe are working double time to flatten the Covid-19 transmission curve, those who survived the infection share one common sentiment – gratitude – to the Lord for their second chance at life and to those who helped them triumph in their battle against the unseen enemy that has tormented the world’s healthcare system. – Jane B. Cadalig