Medical Files

Life-changing, life-saving seminar by Sagip Buhay

/ 08:28 PM January 20, 2012

Aling Joanna, a 28-year-old housewife who developed kidney stones and chronic kidney disease; Mang Carlito, a 58-year-old unemployed husband who was rushed to the emergency room for severe difficulty of breathing due to emphysema; and Mang Rogelio, a 50-year-old former jeepney driver who needed dialysis for acute kidney failure.

These are just three of the patients the Sagip Buhay Medical Foundation at the Philippine General Hospital has helped, in addition to the thousands of indigent patients in the hospital’s medical wards and intensive care unit which the foundation had helped since a group of PGH consultants founded it close to 20 years ago.


Big challenge

It is well-known that PGH is the premier hospital patients go to in order to avail of the expertise of many of the best medical specialists in the country. But although the doctors are willing to give their service pro bono, it will amount to nothing unless the necessary treatment is administered. This is the big challenge which doctors and other healthcare professionals at the PGH have to struggle with each day. On many occasions, consultants and medical residents have to shell out from their own pockets to help patients.


PGH attends to more than 10,000 sick patients who are admitted to its charity wards yearly, and of this number, only 5 percent can afford the necessary treatment. Nothing can be more depressing for a doctor at the PGH than to lose a patient, who could have been very well saved with available treatment, if only it was given.

“Even curable diseases like pneumonia can prove fatal when patients simply do not have enough money for the antibiotics,” says Dr. Agnes Mejia, chair of the Department of Internal Medicine and one of the foundation’s prime movers. “Sagip Buhay offers hope to indigent patients struggling with various curable diseases; it helps alleviate the burdens of both the patients and their families.”

Stop-gap assistance

Literally meaning “saving lives,” Sagip Buhay provides stop-gap assistance to make sure indigent patients get the necessary medicines they need or the important diagnostic tests the doctors have to rely on to make a correct diagnosis of the patient’s problem. In many instances, this has proved life-saving for the patients.

“Sagip Buhay helps administer the first set of antibiotics, the first dialysis session and other procedures that can be life-saving in many instances,” Dr. Mejia says.

Take the case of E.R., 59-year-old iron welder who developed massive accumulation of fluid in the heart sac called pericardial effusion. The heart was literally being pressed upon by the fluid so it could not beat efficiently to pump out the blood from it into the circulation. In many instances, it’s difficult to ascertain the diagnosis, and a special exam—2-D echocardiogram—is needed for confirmation.

In E.R.’s case, it was done just in time before the heart finally stopped beating. The fluid was promptly evacuated and he survived.


“Salamat sa Sagip, napa-2D Echo ako at nalaman na may tubig ang aking puso. Dahil rin sa Sagip, nakabili kami ng gamit para matanggalan ng tubig ang aking puso. Ngayon, nakakahinga na ako ng mas maluwag.” (Thanks to Sagip, a 2-D echo was done on me which confirmed the excess fluid in my heart. Because of Sagip, the needed medicines and supplies were bought to remove the fluid. Now I can breathe more comfortably.)

Relies on donation

The foundation relies on donations from good Samaritans. It has also been very creative in coming up with various fund-raising activities like golf tournaments, fashion shows, art exhibits, movie premiers and fun runs.

On March 22, in collaboration with the Asian Institute of Management (AIM), it is organizing a topnotch whole-day workshop on “Dynamic Strategy Formulation,” with no less than Prof. Brian To, the renowned adviser to Fortune 500 companies, serving as resource speaker and facilitator. “Participants will be exposed to creative strategies that are aimed at both services and products with an emphasis on being distinctive from what competitors are offering and developing capabilities that rivals cannot match easily,” the organizers assure.

The workshop includes actual case studies, group discussions and plenary sessions with case video presentations. It will also provide ample opportunity for business and social networking.

For managers

The program is suited both for junior and senior managers. If one were to attend the same seminar abroad, one will have to spend at least 10 times the registration cost AIM and Sagip Buhay are charging for the seminar. And the best part of it, the proceeds go to the life-saving activities of the foundation.

Those, who are interested to join the seminar or make donations to Sagip Buhay, may call or text 0919-3298887, 0922-8856969 and 0922-8315245, or visit its website at www.sagipbuhay.org.

What better way to learn and improve one’s managerial skills than attending this seminar. It can be life-changing for the participants, and can be life-saving as well, for the indigent patients they would indirectly be helping.

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TAGS: diseases, health and wellness, pgh, Philippine general hospital, sagip buhay medical foundation
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