In a time of war among men, the deadliest place to be is in the battlefield. In a war against an unseen enemy such as a virus, that battlefield shifts to the hospitals.
According to Medscape.com, there have been over 1,800 medical frontliners from 64 countries who died in the performance of their duties since the CoViD-19 outbreak began.
There are no in-between outcomes for medical frontliners. You either survive your calling and tell the story yourself, or you pay the ultimate sacrifice and let others speak of your heroism.
Here are three stories of three doctors in the frontlines. All speak of bravery and selflessness of the highest order. But who narrates in the end reveals either an unbreakable hope, or an unfathomable tragedy.
Dr. Joseph Acosta
On August 15, Dr. Joseph Acosta posted the following status on his Facebook page, which he shared in the Manila Vegans page:
“Hi I’m DocGen, I’m a doctor working in a Metro Manila Hospital taking care of Covid-19 patients. I’ve been working here since the first human to human transmission happened in March in the Philippines.
(I’ve been a) Vegan for more than 3 years only and I thank God, up to now I’m doing well and tested negative with RT-PCR swab test 5 times since March. I stayed in the hospital and go home only 2 to 3 times a month. In the hospital, I still cook my own food and sometimes just heat vegan frozen products.”
In another post the same day, he continued:
“May go home! Thank you Lord! Another success story… 85y/o female healed and recovered from CoViD-19…from the city of Manila. I have to see her, talk to her and ask her of her experience and thank her and ultimately congratulate her!
“Thank you San Juan Medical Center frontliners! Another job well done!”
Dr. Ted ‘Everest’ Esguerra
In the mountaineering community, everybody knows Dr. Ted Esguerra. Nicknamed “Doc Everest”, Esguerra was the official physician to the Philippine Mount Everest Expedition team that summited the world’s highest peak in 2006. What was even more remarkable was that during that stint, the doctor also rescued climbers from Indonesia, Nepal and a Sherpa guide.
Esguerra was loaded with the credentials that made him fit for the task: He was a rescue doctor of the Philippine Coast Guard, specializing in wilderness emergency medical services and aviation medicine, and in high-altitude physiology.
Strong as a mountain Esguerra may have been, in March he tested positive for the novel Coronavirus disease. Shortly afterwards, he was rushed to the intensive care unit, where he documented his struggles with CoViD-19 and shared them in his Facebook page. He eventually recovered in a nature sanctuary.
Esguerra now advocates for open-air recuperation over being confined in an air-conditioned room. His diet has consisted mainly of fruits and vegetables, as he plans to resume a vegetarian lifestyle. He also urges the public to exercise regularly, hydrate properly, take prescribed supplements, get enough fresh air, sleep and sunshine in order to defend the body best against viral infections.
On August 18, he called his wellness tip that he posted on his Facebook page as, “Vegetarian is the key.”
Dr. Eulogio Losorata Jr
On August 8, 52-year-old Dr. Eulogio Losorata Jr passed away. This was the eulogy written by his younger brother Yugel:
“We, family members of Eulogio Losorata Jr., do take pride in having a frontliner for a loved one. But his death, in large part because of his sacrifices so he could continuously provide services to hospitals and patients, was a big blow we now struggle with the grief of having lost him.
Still, we chose to begin the process of healing by instead recalling our loved one’s life with fond memories. Dr. Luigi to friends, Inyor to our father, Papa to his daughters, and Boygic to most of his kins, our hero-frontliner spent a fun-filled 52 years owing to his bright attitude towards life and work. He loved telling jokes and throwing off instant parties.
His circle of co-workers and the patients he treated generally attested for his generosity. He waived professional fees to patients who couldn’t afford and performed circumcisions to hundreds of boys in poor areas for free by way of different medical events and charitable causes.
Luigi loved cars and cooking, and it was common for him to drive around places with his daughters Kasey and Kira and eat out with them in malls. He also had considerable interest in music, and loved jamming as he strummed one of his acoustic guitars.
Boygic, while vocal about his love for city life, spent his early years quietly in Masbate. He was the second child of Eulogio Losorata, a seafaring radio officer from Leyte, and Amalia Baquisal, a native of Masbate. His eight siblings are strongly holding on to his sweet memories as brother.
Once the family had been settled in Manila, he studied primary school in Mount Carmel School in New Manila, and spent high school in Trinity College in Quezon City. He took up BS Biology in Far Eastern University and continued medical school in Our Lady of Fatima University where he met his future wife, Sheryl Angeles, a nursing student at that time. They got married at the San Agustin Church in Intramuros in 1997.
Boygic and Sheryl were blessed with daughters who always make them proud, with Kasey, now 22, becoming a registered pharmacist, and Kira, a recording singer-songwriter at 16.
Doc Luigi practiced his medical profession in the ER departments at Apalit Doctor’s Hospital and Fairview Medical Hospital for many years. Recently he worked double shifts between Our Lady of Rosary Hospital and Manabat General Hospital in Pampanga.
While most people stay away from hospitals, Doc Luigi worked on shifts between two hospitals and wore personal protective equipment (PPE) for many hours. He passed on, having spent his final months working as a frontliner.
His memory, his smile, his jokes, and kindheartedness, will live on in our hearts. Though his life was cut short, Doc Luigi lived his life to the fullest and died as a hero in this difficult time in our history. For that alone we will forever be proud of him.”
The person who wrote this eulogy, Yugel, is also the PubForties band’s bassist and songwriter. Months before the pandemic, he wrote the song “Last Time I Saw You” which deals with grieving over the loss of a loved one. With Yugel and TessDrive.com editor-in-chief Aries B. Espinosa providing the vocals, the haunting melody is now the soundtrack of a tribute video to the life of a passionate doctor who was an inspiration to his siblings, friends, and colleagues.
Rest now, Doc. Your life, and life’s work, will not be in vain.