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Department of Surgery: Delivering services for more complex procedures

Dr David Geollegue Jr, Surgery Department chairman at AMOSUP Seamen’s Hospital

Dr David Geollegue Jr, Surgery Department chairman at AMOSUP Seamen’s Hospital

Dr David Geollegue Jr, Surgery Department chairman at AMOSUP Seamen’s Hospital, looks back at how their operating room evolved from its modest home at the Pier area to the new hi-tech facility, performing so-called high-valued surgeries that used to be referred or transferred to other medical centres

It all started in the early 1980s in a small two-storey health facility just before the very gates of the port of Manila. To cope with the ever increasing demand of AMOSUP members and their dependents for surgical care, a single operating theatre had to be created. The late Captain Gregorio S. Oca, the visionary that he was, spearheaded the construction of a bigger hospital complex inside Intramuros along Cabildo Street: A three-storey structure with two major operating rooms, two delivery rooms, a minor operating room and an endoscopy room.

From then on there was no looking back as the Hospital embarked on rapid recruitment of surgical specialists.  Together with it came technology and facility improvements and acquisitions.  In the field of general surgery in the early 1990’s came the minimally invasive surgery.  The Hospital acquired the technology and from then on open cholecystectomy or surgery of the gallbladder became a thing of the past at the Seamen’s Hospital.

In the late 1990s came younger and newly trained surgical specialists capable of performing more advanced and complex procedures in the field of general surgery utilising the latest technology in minimally invasive surgery.  With this innovation and expertise that the Department now has at its disposal, it conceptualised a training program for surgeons in the field of minimally invasive surgery.

Dr. Jose Antonio Salud supervises and leads operating activities

Dr. Jose Antonio Salud supervises and leads operating activities

Today, the 55 graduates of the program can look back with pride that they became part of the AMOSUP Seamen’s Hospital Department of Surgery. The technology used and the complement of surgical specialty services that the Department provides currently are varied.  In general surgery, the Department through the years can deliver services required for more complex surgical procedures; Seamen’s Hospital can now ordinarily accommodate the so-called high valued surgery which used to be referred or transferred to other medical centres or facilities.

In the field of thoracic and vascular surgeries, the Department has on its staff three surgeons who can deliver services in these fields if needed, except heart surgery requiring a heart-lung machine.  The department can practically provide the manpower needs of the specialty.  Vascular access surgery for purposes of hemodialysis is done on a regular basis at the Hospital.

The Hospital also takes care of pediatric surgical diseases and even performs complex pediatric surgical cases.  Gone were the days when such challenging surgical procedures have to be transferred to other medical facility like surgical conditions involving the new-born.

To cope with the ever changing challenges of a continuously increasing patient load the AMOSUP Seamen’s Hospital in Manila has embarked on an expansion project to further improve the operating room complex, together with the other service areas of the hospital.  In 2015, it acquired a nearby adjacent location and started construction to make the dream come into a reality. Through the years, one can look back with great satisfaction and pride and say that indeed this was the dream of a man who had tremendous vision.