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SH Pediatrics Dep’t: Delivering medical care services for seafarers’ children

 

Department chair Dr Jesusa Godoy looks at how its hospitalists and consultants extend their expertise in the treatment and care for the mariners’ ‘precious young’

AMOSUP members whose dependant infants, children and adolescents receive considerable part of their health and medical care through the Union’s benefit programme.

Through the Pediatrics Department of Seamen’s Hospital, the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of these patients have been taken care of since the department’s establishment in 1978. Dr Jesusa Godoy, chairman of the Pediatrics Department, initially managed to take care of the seafarers’ children singlehandedly when she was tapped for the job during her early days as a certified pediatrician.

The department’s pediatricians grew with the recruitment of highly qualified specialists with the likes of Dr Felipe Fugoso, Dr Ruby Foronda, Dr Jose Salazar, Dr Jhuliet Balderas, Dr Josephine Sunga, Dr Ma. Elena Pile, Dr Catherine Cinco, Dr Anna Lisa Ong-Lim, and Dr Alejandro Ortigas. They brought with them a wealth of experiences from different institutions in their respective subspecialties.

Over the last many years, the Department has been run by a workforce of, not primary physicians, but graduated pediatricians manning the hospital 24/7. They are the hospitalists that include Dr Tricia Santos, Dr Mary Jane Dela Torre, Dr Manny Sagana, Dr Maria Joanna Godito, Dr Alma Manalo, Dr Sittie Noraisa Arimao, Dr Magie Lucas-delos Reyes, Dr Zorayda Miguel and Dr Sunita Padilla.

The department has its regular set of hospitalists and consultants. The consultants come to see the patients at certain times of the week, whilst the hospitalists make sure that pediatric attention is taken care of continuously 24/7. It’s an organised set-up in which the consultant, after seeing the patient, gives instructions as the hospitalist monitors the situation until the consultant comes over to check on the patient.

A number of subspecialists have lent their time and expertise to answer referrals for the patients in need of their help. They are Dr Cynthia Castro for Hematology-Oncology, Dr Mary Ann Marbella for Nephrology, Drs Maria Cecilia Galang and Dr. Kevin Bautista for Pulmonology, Dr Estrella Ibe-Ilustre for Neurology, Dr Abelardo Abellera for Pediatric Surgery.

Seamen’s Hospital is equipped with a 21-bed Pediatric Ward, four-bed Pediatric Intensive Care Unit,13-bed Neonatal Intensive and Intermediate Care Unit (NICU), 14-bed Rooming-In, and its own Out Patient Department where children numbering up to 100 plus received treatments on a given day.

Neonatology
The Department is fortunate to have Dr. Jose Salazar as the resident neonatologist.  With his constant updates on the state of the art in the practice of neonatology, he has reconfigured the system within the NICU to make it more efficient.  The NICU can manage premature as young as 30 weeks AOG (gestational age) and birth weight as low as one kg.  Infected newborns, babies of diabetic or hypertensive mothers, and other conditions are cared for competently. The newborns underwent Newborn Screening, Hearing Test, and ROP screening for premature newborns before discharged. The institution is a Mother-Baby Friendly Hospital. Newborns are roomed-in immediately and breastfeeding is highly advised.

Infectious Disease
Dr Anna Lisa Ong-Lim has sought solutions for infectious disease dilemmas encountered among admitted patients. Judicious use of antibiotics, surveillance and infection control continued to be implemented.

Dr Ong-Lim has been an investigator, co-investigator or clinical research coordinator in a number of clinical trials, in particular vaccine-related trials, and has contributed in many local clinical guidelines on pediatric infectious diseases.

Cardiology
Despite her hectic schedule as an administrative official of the Philippine Heart Centre, Dr. Juliet Balderas has competently handled the congenital and acquired heart diseases among pediatric patients.  She is also responsible for reading pediatric ECGs and 2D echocardiography, as well as managing pediatric intensive care unit patients. There are a total of 15-20 consults per week requiring cardiac evaluation and assessment.  Focus is primary care and cardiovascular risk reduction through evaluation of dependents for CV risk factors in children as early as nine years of age.

Allergy and Immunology
Dr. Ruby Foronda is the resident allergist who is looking after children with asthma, allergic rhinitis, urticaria, drug and food allergies, and atopic dermatitis and other related disorders.  She also heads the hospital committee on adverse drug reactions.

Hematology
The Medical Pediatric Ward of Seamen’s Hospital admits patients with cancer. Children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, which is the most common cancer in children, undergo diagnostic Bone Marrow Aspiration and receive chemotherapy under the supervision of our certified Hematologist, Dr. Cynthia Castro. Short infusion chemotherapy can also be given in the out-patient department.

Neurology
Dr Estrella Ibe-Ilustre is the Hospital’s pediatric neurologist who looks after children with neurologic disabilities and conditions like seizures, pediatric stroke, CNS congenital anomalies, CNS infections, demyelinating diseases, headaches. Dr Ibe is a member of the Faculty of Medicine at the St. Luke’s College of Medicine. She has been a primary investigator, co-investigator in a number of clinical trials involving pharmacologic management of seizures.

Laboratory examinations including electroencephalogram and Magnetic Resonance Imaging are available at the center to support the clinical diagnosis of a wide range of neurological disorders.

The support staff in all the different units of the department is the face of the department among patients and their caregivers.  Head nurse Samson Castante is responsible for the pediatric ward and Kristine Flora for the NICU/Rooming-In ward. Elma Macarasig is the competent nurse that makes the flow of work seamless at the out-patient department.

With the continuous support from the administration of Seamen’s Hospital, the Department of Pediatrics will provide the medical care of the precious children of our seafarers even when they are far away. The department will continue to provide excellent care, with a heart!