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  • Doctor And Mom With COVID-19 Fears For Her Life: 'Kailangan Pa Ako Ng Anak Ko'

    She regrets possibly exposing her 4-year-old daughter and senior parents to the virus.
    by Kitty Elicay .
Doctor And Mom With COVID-19 Fears For Her Life: 'Kailangan Pa Ako Ng Anak Ko'
PHOTO BY iStock
  • As confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continue to rise in the Philippines, our health workers are at the frontlines and risking their lives trying to contain the spread of the virus. But our health sector is overwhelmed — private hospitals are exceeding maximum capacity and there is a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for our frontliners. Even more heartbreaking is that among the positive COVID-19 cases and patients under investigation (PUI), many are doctors, nurses, and hospital staff.

    One of them is Dr. Grace Caras-Torres, an OB-GYN and consultant at St. Luke’s Medical Center Quezon City. In a previously public Facebook post, the doctor identified herself as PH194, which the Department of Health (DOH) reported as a 42-year-old patient residing in Quezon City. (Her post has been changed to private.)

    In an interview with ABS-CBN News, Dr. Caras-Torres shared that she exhibited symptoms on March 7, 2020, got swabbed for samples at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) on March 14, and found out that she was positive for the virus on March 19.

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    “Mabuti nang sakin nyo direktang malaman, kesa tsismis,” Dr. Caras-Torres wrote on Facebook. “Hindi ko akalaing tatamaan ako agad. Nagsisimula pa lang ang gyera nun, casualty na ako.”

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    In her post, Dr. Caras-Torres narrates that she first thought she had chikungunya, a virus transmitted by the same kinds of mosquitoes that spread the dengue and Zika virus. This is because she exhibited the most common symptoms of the disease: fever and joint pain.

    “High grade fever na paulit-ulit. Kakaibang sakit ng ulo at katawan. Hindi makakain,” she shared. “Saka lang nag-sink in sa’kin na posibleng Covid nga ito nung malaman kong may symptoms din ‘yung kasama kong mag-opera ilang araw nang nakalipas.”

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    Fearing for her young child

    The first thought that came into her mind when she got the results was that she might have exposed her 4-year-old child and senior parents to the virus. “Ang iyak ko noon. ‘Di bale nang ako, ‘wag lang sila,” she wrote. “Nagkulong na ako sa kwarto. Nag-birthday akong nakaquarantine at may sakit na nakamamatay. Buti pala umabot pa ako ng 42.”

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    “Ngayon lang ako natakot. Napaiyak ako. Hindi pa ako handang mamatay.”

    Dr. Caras-Torres also shared that through social media, she learned that her colleagues who were diagnosed with the virus were intubated, with four frontliners succumbing to the disease. (Read a fellow doctor’s last message to his family here.)

    Dr. Caras-Torres, who is on home quarantine, shares that she is also fearful for her life. She writes, “Akala ko pagaling na ako, bigla akong nag-tae. Sabi sa Wuhan, ‘pag nagkaroon ng GI symptoms, tuluy-tuloy nang pumapangit ang kundisyon.”

    “Ngayon lang ako natakot. Napaiyak ako. Hindi pa ako handang mamatay,” she added. “Kelangan pa ko ng anak ko. Sasabak pa ako sa giyera.”

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    Fighting the virus and trying to keep sane

    According to ABS-CBN News, Dr. Caras-Torres is still suffering from diarrhea and stomach cramps. “Hindi lang pala virus ang kalaban ko, pati katinuan ng pag-iisip,” she writes on her Facebook post.

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    “Miss na miss ko na ang anak ko.”

    The doctor also urged the public to check on their colleagues, friends, and loved ones, especially those who are sick and are on quarantine. “Kailangan nila ng [pampalakas] ng loob. Sana matapos na ito, sana gumaling na kami. Sana wala nang mamatay. Miss na miss ko na ang anak ko.”

    She adds, “salamat pa din sa lahat ng taong tumulong at nangamusta. Too many to mention. Mahal ko kayo. At Dyos ko, maraming salamat po at buhay pa ako at ok ang pamilya ko.”

    As of this writing, the Department of Health has confirmed 636 positive COVID-19 cases, 38 deaths, and 26 recoveries.

    Smart Parenting reached out to Dr. Caras-Torres but have not received a reply.

    Want to help our frontliners? Here are some ideas on how you can help.

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