Saturday, February 29, 2020

Tagaytay Medical Center's Healthcare Stories during Taal Volcano Eruption

On January 12, 2020, one of the scenic and active volcano in the Philippines the Taal Volcano located in the province of Batangas erupted. 

International and local news along with the widespread information on different social media sites updates the situation of the affected communities and the nearby provinces. 

Taal Volcano was on Alert Level 4 in just hours upon the detection of the volcanic activity, Tagaytay was faced with massive power outages, water shortages, and intermittent cellphone signals. As the situation turned worse, it also affected the health workers’ like the Tagaytay Medical Center (TMC) in terms of their personal and family lives. Nonetheless, they remained unfazed and dedicated to their call of serving patients in need during this emergency. TMC is part of the Mount Grace Hospitals Inc.

As a healthcare worker myself, the call of duty is the standing ground along with the innate response of serving the people in need. 

Tagaytay's population of 71 thousand doubles on weekends and holidays. Taal erupted on a Sunday that is why the surge of patients in the ER of TMC was unimaginable. TMC is located by the Tagaytay Rotonda, the city's most populated area. 

Around 50 patients were brought to TMC-Emergency Room on Jan 12 and 13; with cases related to respiratory and allergic reactions, some have pre-existing illnesses and were triggered by the condition, some cases were vehicular accidents.

Luther Melodias, an ER Nurse at Tagaytay Medical Center expressed his initial thoughts: "Unang unang pumasok sa isip ko is safety naming lahat. Safety ng mga pasyente, mga staff at syempre ng family ko. Iniisip ko din kung paano maililipat ng matiwasay ang mga pasyente."
And, during the height of the situation responding to patient's needs along with the numerous earthquake: "The scenario was very scary, stressful and traumatic. Kasi maya't maya nalindol sa hospital at nawawalan pa ng kuryente." 
How they are coping up with the stress of responding to patients: "I prayed for our safety, and trusted my colleagues during the time of calamity."

Patients' safety was paramount, amidst the chaos, ambulances from TMC and other Mount Grace Hospitals began ferrying-in patients especially ICU-patients from TMC to other MG hospitals and other nearby medical centers.

Ms. Ganate an ICU Head Nurse of TMC on handling and transferring a patient from TMC to Westlake Medical Center: "During evacuation time the patient again experienced difficulty of breathing. The doctor made a thorough assessment and made orders. Nurses carried out orders and closely monitored the patient. When the patient was more stable, the transfer was then facilitated."

Dr. Francis Olaso, an ER Doctor and a Resident on duty: "I was honestly preoccupied with the safety of our patients at that time, especially those admitted in the ICU. I was also thinking of how I would respond to the situation given the unpredictability of the said calamity."

A patient and a resident of Tagaytay who is diagnosed with Acute respiratory failure secondary to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) arrived in TMC-ER on January 14, he was intubated attached to the medical ventilator. The patients' family initially wanted to move to another hospital, eventually settled in because of the quality of care provided by TMC's facilities, doctors and staff. "We are really grateful that we do not need to look for another hospital. The staff is friendly and kind. We were well-received and treated with great attention."

Why is there a need to move patients to other MG hospitals? 

  • Because of the surge of Tagaytay's population during the time of the eruption they felt that it is best to join forces with their sister hospitals in providing the best healthcare emergency resources. 
  • TMC bayanihan/synergy is the move that allows patients to get the continuity of care from one hospital to another accredited hospital. 

The South Cluster hospitals of Mount Grace Hospitals, Inc. (MGHI), comprising of TMC, Westlake Medical Center (WMC), and HealthServ Los Banos Medical Center (HSLB). Their response to Taal Volcano’s eruption serves as an example of how hospitals should respond to disasters if a natural calamity strikes major urban locations.

After the first week of the Taal eruption, TMC conducted relief operations and medical missions along with the South Cluster group in the affected communities. TMC with the continuous effort to caution residents and Tagaytay tourists to wear a face mask to prevent inhalation of volcanic ash and wear shades for eye protection. 

Awareness within the community not only to the affected locality should be conducted, giving emphasis to the so-called "The Big One". 

TMC's healthcare personnel standing firm and dedicated to serving the community. 


  1. Wow, I can only imagine the situation when it happened. I hope that they can recover soon.

  2. It is unfortunate we have to deal with various natural emergencies areound the world. However, it is good that people can be prepared and there are always others willing to help.