MANILA (UPDATE) - The Philippine Heart Association (PHA) on Saturday announced that one of its members died due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) "while fulfilling his duties as a doctor."
"It is a sad day for the whole association as we have lost one of our own in the fight against COVID. He is a casualty of this war. We honor him as he lost his young life while fulfilling his duties as a doctor, a young cardiologist and a dedicated member of PHA," the association said in a statement.
PHA asked for prayers for the young "hero" doctor, other medical frontliners battling the pathogen in hospitals, and patients with the virus worldwide.
"Please pray for the eternal repose of his soul. Please pray for all our members and all our other doctors and healthcare workers in the frontlines and all the people who are afflicted by the disease.
"We lost a young, brilliant, promising doctor in this battle. You are our hero!" it said.
The Philippine Heart Center, in a bulletin released Saturday, identified the young doctor as Dr. Israel Bactol, an incoming senior Adult Cardiology Fellow-in-training.
"It's a very sad day for the Philippine Heart Center. We lost our first year Adult Cardiology Fellow, Dr. Israel Bactol. We got wind of it in the midst of our Incident Command Post (ICP) morning meeting. We paused, we prayed with a few unable to control their tears. He was one of us. It chills yet it makes our resolve stronger to do everything it takes that he will be the first and the last," PHC said.
As of Sunday, the Philippines has recorded 380 cases of COVID-19, with 25 deaths and 17 recoveries.
The country is under a state of calamity, with government tapping into emergency funds to combat the virus and assist frontline workers with medical supplies, equipment and other necessities.
Worldwide, there are more than 234,000 coronavirus cases, with 9,840 deaths, according to data of the World Health Organization (WHO).