St. Luke’s Medical Center is a very prestigious hospital in the Philippines. It’s for the rich. It’s for the politicians and celebrities. It’s for the prominent people… Or that’s what I thought before I went back and forth to this institution and found out that it’s even greater than I knew.
How We Got There
One day, papang was cutting wood to be used for cooking. A wood block accidentally hit his left eye so hard that it started to get blind. Apparently, the doctor said that the lens was dislocated. She said it’s an urgent case and needed operation. It would be an expensive surgery so she referred my father to SLMC’s Charity Program and listed down the requirements we needed to prepare. Just so you know, both of my parents are already in their 60’s and I’m the breadwinner of the family.
The Medical Social Service (MSS) Process
That accident happened last March 11 but my father just had the operation last Friday. It was a looooong process indeed. First, you have to apply for an MSS ID. I always see a long line of people/patients applying for this. These applicants need to submit the requirements and pass the interview. During the interview, I was nervous because I declared that my older brother is working overseas. I also have a regular job. Yes, we’re not the poorest of the poor but the cost of the surgery is so expensive, I didn’t know where to get the money! Anyways, I just got worried because the other members told me I should have not said that so I could get a higher discount. Good thing, being truthful can also be rewarding and we got to have 85% discount. Yeah! Okay, so after the patient becomes officially a member, he still has to undergo labs and pass the clearance before the operation. All that took us a month.
From Admission to Discharge
The Ward Experience
My idea of a ward had always been negative… either old, smelly, dirty or hot (or that’s how it is in most public hospitals here). I know it’s St. Luke’s but papang was just a Social Service patient so I didn’t expect much. Came to my surprise, it was even better than my bedroom except of course, it has lesser privacy. It was an air-conditioned room with four beds separated by large curtains. We also had our own bathroom which was always kept clean by the housekeepers. Bedsheets were also changed every morning. The only disappointment I had was there’s nothing I can sleep on. What I did was to put three chairs together and that became my bed for two nights.
A patient’s meal is always complete with the three food groups with soup and always properly sealed.
Let me also share mine. Beside the hospital, there are a number of food stalls that you can choose from. It’s more affordable to buy there than from the fast food chains and the food are more delicious!
My personal favorite stall is Busy Bee. It just took my attention because of all the stalls there, it’s the only one managed by one person. I mean, there were others but the woman’s tasks were more difficult and she owns that store herself! The pictures above were the food I bought from her except the shark’s fin dumpling with rice.
The Doctors, Nurses and Staff
I’ve encountered different doctors and staff during this whole experience. Most of them were nice and helpful. Actually, all of them. The ones who were kind of masungit were the ones I encountered during the application process (some of the social workers… Weird, right?). Anyway, the nurses were great, too! They were always quick to respond and approachable. But I want to give the biggest thumbs up to Dr. Corpus. She’s my father’s ophthalmologist who did the surgery. She’s a very lovely lady, maybe in her late 20’s or early 30’s and she reminds me of Jennylyn Mercado. I just admire how she takes care of her patients. She never fails to reply with our questions through texts (although she replies late sometimes because she’s always busy), gives us reminders and keeps us updated.
And, The Bill
With my PhilHealth benefits and the Senior Citizen discount, the only payment that we had to make was 15,000 pesos ($350) out of supposedly Php116,620 ($2700) and medicines needed after surgery were provided. Cool, right? We actually had to spend a lot on our transportation fares but it’s still more cheaper than to have the surgery in another hospital. Now, I realized why people really made the effort to go through to the long process. It’s really worth it. A lady with breast cancer shared her own experience with us. She went through different hospitals and was told that her operation would cost a million pesos. She had her surgery through SLMC’s Social Service program and it was reduced to just Php300,000.
If you’re from the Philippines (especially near NCR) and know someone who needs medical and financial assistance, you should share this. 🙂