De Lima commends heroic act of nurses who saved 35 infants amid fire; appeals help for PGH


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Photo Credit: Kathrina Bianca Macababbad

Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has commended the courage and heroic act of nurses and other health care workers who safely evacuated and saved 35 babies from the fire incident at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) last May 16.

De Lima, a social justice and human rights champion, said she salutes the health workers, particularly the two nurses who showed not only dedication in fulfilling their duties but also courage and genuine love for infants under their care, by not hesitating to go back to Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) to rescue the babies on ventilators.

“Nurses Kathrina and Jomar of PGH, along with other health care workers, are blessings to the 35 babies, their families and the medical community. Dahil sa kanila, 35 sanggol na nangangailangan ng agarang atensiyong medikal ang nailigtas sa panganib,” she said.

“Despite the risks and dangers to their own lives, they did not hesitate to save these little angels who are under their care. Tunay kayong mga bayani! We salute and thank you for your sacrifices and dedication,” added De Lima.

According to the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), a fire of still undetermined cause, which lasted for five hours, struck a portion of PGH last May 16. No one was hurt from the incident.

PGH spokesman Dr. Jonas del Rosario reportedly said the fire affected the nursery room for newborn babies. To date, 12 babies from the NICU were already transferred to nearby Sta. Ana Hospital while others were temporarily brought to the charity ward and the emergency room near the OB department.

In a social media post, Kathrina Bianca Macababbad, a NICU nurse of the PGH, shared how she, along with fellow nurse Jomar Mallari and other co-workers, safely transferred all the babies from the NICU located at the 4th floor of the hospital to the open area.

Nung una, naiiyak na ako kasi mga babies na walang oxygen support lang talaga una naming maeevacuate tapos maiiwan yung mga naka-hook sa ventilator. Pero noong nakita ko na medyo clear pa yung daanan, wala ng pagdadalawang isip, bumalik kami ni Jomar sa taas para magbaba pa ng babies at ng mga emergency equipment,” Macababbad said in an interview with De Lima’s staff.

Dahil sa apoy, damay yung electricity namin and oxygen supply at makapal na rin ang usok. Mamamatay mga babies dahil sa suffocation and lack of power and oxygen kung iniwan namin sila doon.  Nakakaproud din yung mga kasama ko sa duty kasi kahit walang instructions, lahat ang bilis tumulong. May kanya-kanya kaming designation agad. Yung iba nagbantay ng mga babies na nailikas na,” Macababbad added.

De Lima appealed to the public to offer help for the sick babies and PGH. “They are currently seeking donated breastmilk for remaining babies at PGH and for those transferred to other hospitals, as well as items such as diapers, wet wipes and diaper rash cream. For cash donations, people can donate to PGH Medical Foundation.”

Ultimately, De Lima said she also offers her prayers for the continued safety not only of patients but also of the health workers whose commitment to their work, which is made more challenging by the COVID-19 pandemic, is truly commendable.

Sa ating mga health workers at frontliners: Maraming salamat sa patuloy ninyong sakripisyo at serbisyo sa panahong ito ng pandemya. Patuloy kaming nananalangin para sa inyong mabuting kalusugan at kaligtasan, pati na ng inyong pamilya,” said De Lima. (30)

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