‘Hardest day:’ Doc recalls telling OFW mom that daughter died of COVID

Thea Alberto-Masakayan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 14 2021 06:27 PM

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Cardiologist Alinaya Cordero already saw many faces of death in her years as a health specialist. Every death had been sad, but losing a 28-year-old patient to COVID recently broke her. 

“Habang nasa gilid ng kalsada, kausap ko ang ina ng pinakabata kong pasyente na tinamaan ng COVID, 28 taong-gulang, para ipaalam na siguro ang pinakamasakit na salita na pwedeng marinig ng isang ina at pinakamasakit na salita na pwedeng masabi ng isang doktor,” Cordero wrote in a Facebook post on Aug. 25. 

[While on the roadside, I called the mom of my youngest COVID patient. The mother was abroad and this was probably the hardest call she would ever take, and the saddest words a doctor could say.]

Cordero said the patient, who had recovered from papillary cancer of the thyroid, wanted so badly to live. She had many dreams and had many opportunities ahead of her.

But the woman was not fully vaccinated against the respiratory disease that has claimed millions of lives worldwide. 

“Kanina, parang ayoko nang bumangon. Pakiramdam ko nagkulang ako eh. Baka may nagawa akong di maganda o may di pa ako nagagawang maganda. Pakiramdam ko natalo na naman kami ng COVID,” lamented the doctor, adding that the patient battled COVID for 10 days. 

[I felt helpless. I feel like I have not done enough, or that I did something wrong, or I did not do it well. I feel like COVID beat us again.]

The cardiologist said she was also grieving for her patient’s mom, an overseas Filipino worker who was only able to send a voice clip to her daughter. 

“Hindi ko rin malubos maisip ang sakit na nadarama ng nanay niya dahil malayo siya sa anak niya. Ako rin ay anak ng mga OFW, simula’t simula pagkabata ay nasa ibang bansa na sila. Kaya ramdam ko ang lungkot at pangungulila ng ina ng pasyente ko. Uuwi siya, makikita nalang nya abo ng ang anak niya,” said Cordero. 

[I cannot fathom her pain, that this is happening while she’s far away. Being a daughter of an OFW myself, I feel her pain and longing. She will come home only to see her daughter’s ashes.]

But life must go on, especially for health workers like Cordero, who are fighting COVID at the frontlines. 

“Hindi ko alam kailan matatapos tong laban na to. Ang alam ko lang ngayon, kahit ilang beses akong magtanong sa sarili ko kung ‘para kanino pa ako bumabangon?’ Alam ko pa rin ang isasagot ko,” she said, more determined to save more lives. 

[I don’t know when this pandemic will end. But what we know now is if you ask me what keeps me going, I know my answer.]

As of this posting, Cordero is also battling COVID. 

“Health care workers are not heroes. We are just doing our responsibilities to the society but please do your part in this pandemic. Please get vaccinated, stay at home and wear your mask. Believe in science,” she said. 

The Philippines on Tuesday recorded 18,056 new COVID-19 cases, as the country continued to battle its worst virus outbreak yet since the pandemic started last year.

Total confirmed infections stood at 2,266,066, of which 177,670 are active and 35,529 are deaths.

Hospitals in Metro Manila and nearby provinces are congested with COVID patients, as many health workers also report infections.

The government is meanwhile facing criticisms for its supposed mismanagement of the pandemic, with President Rodrigo Duterte appointing mostly former military officials to the Cabinet, which also sits in Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.