By Jane Kingsu Cheng
Like soldiers being drafted for war, different types of medical staff are being sent out to help treat Covid-19 patients. “All the hospitals in the country started to experience shortage of medical workers due to Covid-19. They unknowingly contracted the virus from patients,” says plastic surgeon and father-of-two Dr. Ryan Paraiso. “Due to the shortage, hospitals began drafting their consultant staff to go to the front line to see patients.”
Ryan is one of those doctors who are on standby. “We’re willing to go on duty, but not for a suicidal post.” Remembering his best friend, Katinko’s pharmacist Tom Yeung’s offer on PPE (personal protective equipment) a little over a month ago, he called Tom back and asked for photos of what their PPEs look like. Ryan was surprised to find out that Tom’s factory uses something similar—custom-made and locally-manufactured PPEs, which they refer to as “bunny suits.” A sample was sent to Ryan and he showed it to his colleagues, “They were ecstatic about it. At least, now, they are well-protected.”
Tom introduced Ryan to his sister Melissa Yeung Yap, who is also the CEO of the company. “He asked to borrow 50 (PPEs), but, of course, we gave the bunny suits to them without charge.” The first batch of water repellant, anti-static, and washable suits were delivered to Ryan. They started distributing them to frontliners from different hospitals, with doctors happily posting photos of them in these suits. This caught the attention of other doctors, and they asked if Ryan can help source more of them.
Without second thoughts, Melissa happily obliged. “The demand was so big that I think we used all the PPE’s in their factory. It felt good, and motivated us to help and gather resources,” says Ryan.
Help is on the way
Melissa lamented that some doctors are using garbage bags to protect themselves.
“They even said that they were lucky if they had garbage bags as protection,” she says.
“To help, we gave them bunny suits that we use in our factory.” She knew that their suits weren’t enough to equip all the doctors in need of PPEs, so she posted an invitation to donate for this cause. To date, she has collected a good enough amount to produce almost 8,000 suits for distribution nationwide.
It will take some time to produce this next batch of suits, so Melissa thought of sending more from what their employees are using. “Since we’ve adjusted the time anyway to a four-day work week, we have one day worth of uniform to spare, plus the ones owned by employees who are on leave (those who need to commute to Katinko factory have been asked not to report for work).”
Other company efforts include emergency funds allocated for their employees, and alcohol production for donation to hospitals such as Philippine General Hospital, The Medical City, Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, Lung Center, Rizal Medical Center, UST hospital, Makati Medical Center, and more.
“To be honest, we don’t have the ideal centers or modern hospitals, but our doctors and healthcare workers have a lot of heart and determination to beat this crisis. That is why we felt obliged to help them as much as we can. I’m not on the frontlines right now, but soon, I will be. It is a way of saying: ‘You have our front, we got your back. Stay healthy and keep living.’ We can’t afford to lose another healthcare worker,” Ryan ends.
*Interested parties who wish to donate can send an e-mail to email@example.com Donations will be used to purchase PPEs, alcohol, and other needs for the frontliners.