Mt. Everest expedition team doctor tests positive of COVID-19
CEBU CITY, Philippines —Dr. Ted Esguerra, an expert of disaster preparedness and emergency response, tested positive of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
He has been taking on challenges, including his participation in the first Philippine Mt. Everest expedition on May 2006 as the team doctor, having undertaken training on high altitude medicine. He was also the expedition physician of the Voyage of the Balangay, sailing around the Philippines and Southeast Asia in 2010 to early 2011.
Esguerra now faces another difficult challenge after he tested positive of the coronavirus disease 2019.
“Friends, I am positive for COVID-19… But I’m Ok and in POSITIVE Mood,” Dr. Esguerra said in a post on his Facebook page.
He underwent the test for the coronavirus 2019 on March 25 at St. Luke’s Medical Center.
“I never imagined I’d be like this: Being interviewed and hooked to VS monitors. I could not see the faces of the triage nurses and docs. It seems like I’m in a space station. The worst part is the agonizing nasal swab!” he recalled in a post shared by Fyt Facebook page.
Esguerra, who was then experiencing dry cough, fever and body malaise, kept himself in self-isolation at his residence after being tested.
“I just stayed in the terrace watching a patch of heaven (view has lots of buildings as obstructions. Tsk, urban jungle) and simply accepting God’s Will in my life,” he said.
“I feel like a Mandela in a prison BUT my door is open. Only that I can’t go out as I might contaminate others. I can’t hug my loved ones. As the Italian Prime Minister said: Let us be separated today so that we can hug each other tomorrow,” Esguerra said on one of his posts.
‘Kaya mo ‘yan Doc’
On Monday, March 30, an ambulance, which was dispatched by Manila Ops Center through the assistance of Raha Rescue chief, Ronan Li, came to take him to the hospital.
As he was transferred to the ambulance, Esguerra’s neighbors chanted ‘Kaya mo ‘yan Doc.’ I saw a community helping me move my way to the Manila DRRM (disaster risk reduction and management) ambulance and chanting that I can make it through,” the doctor said, adding that this made him teary-eyed.
He commended the efforts of the DRRM personnel, the Emergency Medical Service volunteers and paid personnel for doing their job diligently and maintaining the line against the disease.
Esguerra also expressed hope over the ‘good and dedicated governance’ shown by the Manila City local officials, headed by Mayor Isko Moreno.
He urged everybody to focus on what is important – containing the virus.
“We never saw it coming but we can still stop it from spreading. Let us just follow orders from people of science. Let’s stop blaming. A blame game is no game,” Esguerra said.
He then cited the need for a united stand against the pandemic.
“This is our time to put our acts together. We’re not fighting against each other anymore. We are waging war against a non-life form which is so crude that it neutralized our arrogance,” Esguerra noted in his post./dbs
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