Between duty and family: Philippines doctor isolates at home after work

Jan Claire Dorado, 30, a doctor assigned to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Emergency Room of East Avenue Medical Center in Manila, bonds with her mother and cat from behind the small plastic window on her makeshift isolation room.

MANILA — After taking a job in a hospital’s COVID-19 emergency room, Philippine doctor Jan Claire Dorado planned to move out of the family home to protect relatives from the risk of infection.

But Dorado’s parents insisted the 30-year-old keep living at home, so her father constructed a makeshift isolation area in a storage room there.

Now, when she returns from work at one of the country’s main hospitals treating coronavirus patients, her dinner is placed outside the room’s door on a stool.

“The hardest part is being away from them. I miss them a lot,” said Dorado, who greets family members from behind a plastic window on a wall covered in foil.

Her parents are considered high-risk for COVID-19 because of preexisting conditions, and Dorado said she once painfully refused her mother’s request for a hug.

Hundreds of Philippine medical workers have been infected by the coronavirus and more than 30 have died.

Safekeeping loved ones is also a high priority for pediatrician Mica Bastillo, even as she confronts COVID-19 head on.

The 38-year-old took on a new role at a children’s hospital in another part of Manila after it became a COVID-19 referral facility in April.

“My family thought about asking me to resign, but anywhere I go I would still have to face COVID,” she said.

With her father and sister battling medical conditions, the family built a makeshift tent next to their home for Bastillo, which they dubbed a “quarantent.”

Made out of plastic sheets to keep out the rain, it allows Bastillo to be with her family at a safe distance.

“My mother put the curtains and the tablecloth to make it look like home... And my brother added the plastic sheet. It was a real family effort,” said Bastillo, who still joins her family for nightly prayers seated beside the front door wearing a mask.

Monday, September 21, 2020
Sunday, September 20, 2020