Surgical Team
OPHTHALMOLOGY TEAM, SAVE SIGHT MISSION. Photo shows members of the ophthalmology team from the Columbia University at work. They team members are Dr. Elizabeth Viriya, Dr. Milton Delerme, Dr. Amar Singh, Dr. Antonio Gonzales, CRNA (anesthesia) Victoria Arirao and ophthalmic technician Jose Nunez. The Philippines-based team members were Dr. Mario Munoz, Dr. Jombit Ramirez and Dr. Ulysses Galang.
[box type=”default” size=”large”] Group served a total of 4,332 patients in 3 days [/box]The medical-surgical and “Save Sight” missions conducted by the UST Medical Alumni Association in America (USTMAAA) on Jan. 22-24, 2014 in Angeles City, Pampanga, Philippines is one of the most successful and highly organized missions we have organized or participated in for the past 25 years.

The missions served a total of 4,332 patients, a comparatively high number in the history of USTMAAA’s charity medical-surgical activities in the Philippines.

The figure is broken down as follows: Medical patients served, 4,145; major surgeries, 92; cataracts, 56; pterygium, 10; minor surgeries, 84; and dental cases, 325.

Spearheading the mission was Dr. Jose Evangelista, past president of both the UST Medical Alumni Association in America and Michigan Circulo Pampangueno, together with Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan of Angeles City.

The medical mission was held in three different locations. These are resettlement areas in Angeles City, home to people displaced by the Mt. Pinatubo eruptions in 1990 and squatters who used to live alongside the railroad tracks.

MISSION MEMBERS. The members of the mission, numbering more than 25, pose for a souvenir photo before they started treating patients in Angeles City. Also in photo is Angeles City Mayor Ed Pamintuan (in white shirt).
MISSION MEMBERS. The members of the mission, numbering more than 25, pose for a souvenir photo before they started treating patients in Angeles City. Also in photo is Angeles City Mayor Ed Pamintuan (in white shirt).
The huge courtyard where the mission was conducted was packed wall-to-wall with patients despite the fact that the registration was closed at 11 a.m. Major surgeries were done at the city hospital, Ospital Ning Angeles which is now called Rafael Lazatin Memorial Hospital. Minor surgeries were done at the Medikalinga Clinic.

All the patients received free medicines. USTMAA also left several “balikbayan” boxes of surgical supplies, 45 lens implants, eye supplies, several boxes of high blood-pressure medicines, antibiotics, anti-diabetics, anti-ulcers, pain and arthritis medicines, etc.

The surgical mission was rewarding as it did 92 major surgeries and 84 minor surgeries, 56 of which were cataract surgeries and 10, pterygiums. What was even more rewarding was our ability to do mastectomies on two patients with huge phyllodes tumors of the breast, one weighing over 15 pounds, the largest tumor we have ever seen. Obviously, these surgeries were long overdue but the patients waited for the mission to enable them to avail themselves of the free operations.

The day before the start of the medical-surgical missions, we had a continuing medical education (CME) program at the Angeles University Foundation. This was arranged by AUF Grand Chancellor, Dr. Manny Angeles, and was attended by medical students, residents and fellows as well as faculty and practicing physicians. Following the CME presentation, we were treated to a sumptuous dinner complete with entertainment presented by a rondalla and the AUF Choral Group.

The mission would not have been successful without the full support and cooperation of Angeles City Mayor Pamintuan, his wife Herminia, his chief of staff, Alex Cauguiran, and our Philippine overall committee chairperson, Dr. Mario Munoz.

We also thank USTMAAA’s “Save Sight” Mission led by Dr. Antonio Gonzales and his team from the Columbia University. The group provided 100 len implants as well all eye supplies and medicines.  We likewise laud the cooperation of private hospitals which loaned their anesthesia machines and Phaco equipment that enabled us to do simultaneous regular surgeries and cataract surgeries.

More importantly, we had the participation of local ophthalmologists, surgeons, anesthesiologists and family practitioners who stood side by side with Team USA to accomplish what we did in three days and who also undertook follow-up treatment of the surgical patients.

The Angeles City government provided the transportation from Manila to the mission sites and back with local businessmen and relatives providing our lunches and evening dinners as well as entertainment. The City of Angeles feted our group with a Farewell Dinner complete with entertainment at the Museo de Angeles. Certificates of appreciation were also presented.

Special mention goes to Mayor Ed Pamintuan and his energetic wife, Mrs. Herminia Pamintuan, as well as Rene Romero and his lovely wife, Agnes, who served as host of our team at the Fontana Villas.

The Romeros gave our group a sumptuous dinner with world-class entertainment at their resort-like compound/home.

On our last day, the team split into two – with the physically challenged ones opted to a delicious seafood lunch at a fishpond of Boy and Susan Limjoco which was reached via a river boat ride. The younger and more physically fit members of the group opted to tour aboard SUVs scenic places and trek to the Mt. Pinatubo crater, where they were served gourmet lunch in tents set up by local guides.

It was indeed an unforgettable and one-of-a-kind experience for the members of the group.

Special acknowledgement is being accorded to the following: Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan, Angeles City; Dr. Mario Munoz, Overall Coordinator, Philippines; Dr. Jombit Ramirez, President, Central Luzon Ophthalmological Society; Mr. Alex Cauguiran, chief of staff of Mayor Pamintuan; Mrs. Heminia Pamintuan, Overall Co-Coordinator; Mr. Rene and Mrs. Agnes Romero. Past President, Philippine Chamber of Commerce; UST Medical Alumni Association in America – Dr. Jose Evangelista, Overall Committee Chairman; UST Medical Alumni Association of Michigan – Dr. Lina Bouffard, President; Michigan Circulo Pampangueno, Mrs. Mercedes Nacorda, Immediate Past President; Mrs. Flor Sitchon, Incumbent Circulo President; Cabalen Care Foundation, Dr. Jose Evangelista, President; World Medical Relief. Mr. George Samson, President and CEO; Save Sight Mission – Dr. Antonio Gonzales, Chairman; and Angeles University Foundation – Dr. Manny Angeles, Grand Chancellor.

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