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'My mantra is 'helping people'': Doctor opens up about COVID-19 experience Updated: 2020-04-23 17:05:21 KST

PH 1264. That was the number doctor Joey Hernandez received after being confirmed to have COVID-19. The first symptom was intermittent diarrhea that he thought was just food poisoning. But five days later his body felt weak, his muscles were sore and he had headaches and a fever reaching 40.5 degrees Celsius.

"I also developed difficulty breathing. It was hard to complete sentences without pausing and taking deep breaths."

But with a limited number of testing facilities in the Philippines, he had to wait almost two weeks before hearing from the hospital.

"Having enough trained and competent health human resources, doctors, nurses, midwives, many current knowledges to be able to man hospitals."

Developing countries have faced hardships in maintaining their health systems. He says international cooperation is needed to overcome the pandemic together.

"Sharing these best experiences from other countries would actually enable those who are still lacking in the fight against COVID to improve and catch up as well."

But for the young doctor, there's still work left to be done. He is now in contact with hospitals to donate blood for transfusion therapy using his plasma which contains antibodies against the disease.

"It has framed my mind to think that way, that we have to extend help to the most number of people in a very safe and effective way and people are actually participating. So that’s my personal and professional perspective. So this is why I’m also doing this."

Hernandez is conducting online lectures to help local officials as well as spreading awareness about the disease through social media.
Choi Jeong-yoon, Arirang News.
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