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  • Physician Mom Holds Drive-Thru Vaccinations, Free Online Consultations During Quarantine

    Her clinic also remains open and ready to serve patients.
    by Kitty Elicay .
Physician Mom Holds Drive-Thru Vaccinations, Free Online Consultations During Quarantine
PHOTO BY courtesy of Tina Ignacio-Alberto
  • Because of the enhanced community quarantine and the COVID-19 pandemic, some hospitals have declared full capacity and are unable to accept non-COVID patients. But Health Index Multispecialty Clinic, a community clinic found in the village of Mambog I, in Bacoor, Cavite, remains open and ready to serve those who need medical assistance.

    “Sa area [namin], kami na lang ang open,” says Dr. Maria Cristina Ignacio-Alberto, or “Doc Tina,” as she is known by her patients. The 44-year-old physician, who is also a mom to three young kids ages 11, 9, and 4, specializes in pediatrics but practices general medicine in her community. She tells SmartParenting.com.ph that she chooses to continue running her clinic because “the coronavirus kills even the non-COVID patients.”

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    A call to serve

    Doc Tina with her husband, Ed, who is also a doctor, and their three young daughters.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Tina Ignacio-Alberto

    Health Index caters to urgent cases that “overwhelmed hospitals” would not be able to take, like measles, childhood asthma, lacerations, dog and cat bites, and more. High-risk patients are transferred to hospitals which can better handle them.

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    “Every time I go on duty there are patients who have been from one hospital to another without being seen by a doctor. Most hospitals now have shut down because they have been overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients,” Doc Tina writes in a public Facebook post that shows the plight of a patient with pyelonephritis and hypokalemia. She put the patient on intravenous fluids and instructed her relatives to replace the fluids and give her medicine at home. Now the patient is recovering.

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    With drive-thru immunization, babies and parents don't need to come inside their clinic and risk being infected.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Tina Ignacio-Alberto

    Doc Tina also came up with a unique way for babies to get their vaccinations on time, without their parents having to fear infections: drive-thru vaccination. “Immunization has to continue without sacrificing safety,” she shares.

    “Usually, we receive a message via chat regarding their concern. We list the patient in our computer database and they come in at the appointed time. The parent informs us na nasa parking na sila and we prepare the vaccine,” Doc Tina explains. “They park sa harap ng clinic and we give them the shot. Instructions pre- and post-vaccination are given online.”

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    Our new normal

     

    As added precaution, Health Index's staff are asked not to eat together, to wear their masks at all times, and to wash their hands and body before going home.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Tina Ignacio-Alberto

     

    The clinic is open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. They have strict rules for checkups, both for the staff and their patients. All health workers are required to wear full personal protective equipment (PPE). A plastic sheet is set up in front of Doc Tina’s table as an added precaution.

     

    Doc Tina knows the danger that comes with her job but she continues to take the call to serve her people.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Tina Ignacio-Alberto
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    Despite the shortened clinic hours, Doc Tina’s work never stops. She organizes donation drives for her community and caters to medical consultations online. She tries her best to answer all of them. “I get a lot [of messages] from all over the world, from people I don’t know,” she shares. “I have to help them. Saka na lang isipin ang privacy.”

    She admits that the crisis we currently face is exhausting, but it has not deterred her will to fight, nor has it made her to want to turn her back on her patients. “This is our reality now,” she writes on a Facebook post. “We have to make hard choices and pray they work. We will survive this.”

    We salute doctors who continue to provide their service even during quarantine. Click here for a list of where you can get free online consultations.

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