De La Salle University Medical Center Covid Response
The COVID 19 pandemic caught us all off guard, but we did not remain defenseless. The De La Salle University Medical Center- Department of Ophthalmology caters to people’s eye health not only in Cavite but also to its neighboring provinces. Changes had to be made to maintain everyone’s safety while still providing continuing care and education.
It was overwhelming at the onset of the pandemic how to adapt to such changes. Numerous consultations with different component medical societies were done to come up with acceptable implementing rules and regulations pertaining to the safety of everyone. It was heartbreaking at the start to turn away patients to other institutions that are better equipped to handle them, especially the COVID positive cases.
However, we couldn’t stay nonchalant about the needs of our patients, residents, and medical students. Telemedicine consultations became the norm and a by-appointment system was implemented in the Ophthalmology Out-Patient Department to maintain minimum health safety protocols. Department conferences and resident learning activities shifted to an online platform as well. Additional measures were taken, such as pre-operative RT-PCR testing and Infectious Disease clearances for patients undergoing elective and emergency procedures at the operating room. Medical school classroom became virtual. Crash courses on how to conduct effective online teaching were offered and accomplished left and right.
DLSUMC, in collaboration with the different clinical departments, launched MedChat: Your Health Questions Answered, an online talk show featuring specialists tackling common health conditions for the information of the general public. Common eye conditions such as dry eyes, glaucoma, and lid masses were among others discussed and more topics are yet to be showcased. The usual year round activities such as Glaucoma Month, Sight Saving Month were conducted virtually in the hope of reaching out to our constituents and educating them on the common eye diseases that have increased in incidence especially in this pandemic time.
This continuing battle with COVID19 opened up many challenges. But these limitations also brought out our ingenuity and flexibility to move forward despite being faced with adversity. This pandemic has propelled us at great speed into the digital world and it seems that the ever changing technology is here to stay. It is now up to us to adapt, adjust and make use of it to our greatest advantage.
Kathleen Kaye D. De Vega, MD
Currently the Chief Resident in the
Department of Ophthalmology at De La Salle University Medical Center.