Another resiliency post? Mixed reactions to story about COVID-positive surgeon, nurse

January 17, 2022 - 8:07 PM
A health worker wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) as protection against the coronarivus disease (COVID-19) holds an umbrella as she carries medical supplies, at Sta. Ana Hospital, in Manila, Philippines, September 8, 2021. (Reuters/Lisa Marie David)

An appreciation post for volunteer healthcare workers despite being infected with COVID-19 drew mixed reactions online.

While Filipinos praised them for their work, others perceived that the post suggests how exploited health workers are in the country.

The social media post came from a physician named Caryl Joy Nonan who shared that her two colleagues, Dr. Caroline Mandin, an anesthesiologist, and Ronie Galanta, an operating room nurse, performed surgery on a COVID patient for an unrelated illness.

Nonan pointed out that Mandin and Galanta did this despite being COVID positive themselves.

“What’s remarkable with this picture is that all of the people in this image are COVID positive. Ate Roro is admitted (along with her daughter) for COVID, Angkol Ronie is also in isolation due to mild COVID symptoms. But when they heard that I have a COVID positive patient for appendectomy, they readily volunteered,” she said.

The uploader doctor further described this volunteer service as “above and beyond” their duties.

Several media outlets soon picked this up and reported it.

Some Filipinos left messages of support for the two health workers and hoped that they recover soon.

“Salute to both of them! Keep it up and may the good lord heal them,” one Facebook user said.

Others, however, told their fellow Filipinos that they should not romanticize the situation.

They pointed out that the Facebook post showed how poorly health workers are treated in the country.

“While I gladly would do this, too, for a patient if I HAVE to, this should not be lauded at all! Please stop with the resiliency porn. Let’s stop with the martyrdom peg,” one user Twitter said.

“We should be outraged, not impressed. This is the result of the failure of the gov’t to upgrade health infra two years after the pandemic. Don’t romanticize the abuse and exploitation of health workers as service above and beyond!” another online user tweeted.

The Department of Health previously released its updated isolation period for health workers on January 15.

Infected health workers with mild cases are required to be isolated for seven days from onset of symptoms if they are fully vaccinated.

Those who are partially or not vaccinated are required to be isolated for 10 days.

On the other hand, COVID-positive health workers who are asymptomatic should be isolated for seven days from the date of test if fully vaccinated.

Those who are partially or not vaccinated against COVID-19 shall be isolated for ten days from date of test.

Updated isolation period for asymptomatic, mild cases (Facebook/DOH)

The previous directive with shortened isolation and quarantine periods last week drew backlash from members of the medical community online.

READ: ‘Unfair, offensive’: Health workers slam DOH over shortened isolation, quarantine period

At that time, health workers and those who work in authorized sectors are no longer required to quarantine themselves even if they are exposed to COVID patients.

This rule only applies if there are fully vaccinated.

Here are the updated guidelines for the quarantine of those with close contact with infected patients.

Updated quarantine period for asymptomatic close contact cases (Facebook/DOH)