Moving Forward: BMC produces 17 medical resident graduates

NAGA CITY – After finishing her medical degree in Manila, Dr. Ma. Elizabeth E. Loria-Torres served as a medical officer in the remote town of Siruma in Camarines Sur. In one of the medical missions, she met an official of the Bicol Medical Center, who invited her to pursue her residency in the tertiary referral medical center. Since she is not from Bicol, she shrugged the idea at first. And she went on her plan to take her residency back in Manila. But after her first year of residency, she had a change of heart and reconsidered the invitation. 
“I am from Manila, so I had my residency first year in Manila. On my second year, I realized na kulang ang training ko in Manila. Kulang sa skills. Dito kasi sa BMC, dahil sa dami naming patients, sobra kaming trained.” Dr. Loria-Torres said.
As a resident of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department of BMC, Dr. Loria-Torres shared that they had days when they had to perform 20 cesareans or C-section operations.
“’Yung kamay namin parang namamanhid na [laughs]. Hindi ka magkakamali sa BMC kasi ang training [dito] ay magbibigay sa'yo ng confidence sa private practice. ” Dr. Loria-Torres.

The BMC's residency training program, facilitated by the Professional Education, Training and Research Unit hailed Dr. Ma. Elizabeth Loria-Torres as the Most Outstanding Graduating Resident of 2021.

Like Dr. Loria-Torres, Dr. Ada Angela Moncada of Gubat, Sorsogon took her pre-medicine in Manila. Dr. Moncada also  served as a medical officer in a distant town in Bicol (Magallanes, Sorsogon), then pursued her Surgery Residency Training at BMC. 2020 was her last year of residency, which she deemed the most difficult due to the threats of COVID-19. However, the support of the hospital management somehow
eased the challenges they faced.

“In fairness to BMC, they prioritized the welfare of the residents. Kaya nagkaroon ng guidelines kung papano papasok ang patients. Nakailang meetings kami with Dr. Rañola. Lahat ng departments are represented. Gumawa kami ng guidelines to make sure that the environment is really safe for us. Nag-designate ng ibang ER (Emergency Rooms). We had dry runs especially sa Surgery kung ano ‘yung unang gagawin ‘pag pumasok ‘yung patients. Saan [sila] pupunta? Lalo na ‘yung severe and emergency.”

Aside from the Personal Protective Equipment, the hospital purchased several Powered Air-Purifying Respirators (PAPR). Dr. Ada was one of the physicians who were able to use the PAPR in her surgical operations. 

“Valuable siya kasi mas comfortable gamitin kasi the regular PPE kasi mainit. At least yung PAPR, may nagci-circulate na air tapos medyo malamig sa mukha. Especially kapag mahahabang operations, ang hirap kapag naka-PPE, lahat nagfa-fog, pawis. Mas comfortable talaga ang PAPR.” Dr. Ada shared.

Resident and Surgeons of BMC - Department of Surgery use Powered Air-Purifying Respirator (PAPR) during their operations. The BMC Management purchased the PAPR during the pandemic so that the surgeons and physicians’ medical operations will be more comfortable. (Photo Courtesy: Department of Surgery)

Dr. Jensy Ong, head of the Professional Education, Training, and Research Unit (PETRU) said that the management's priority since the beginning of the pandemic is to protect all its employees against COVID-19, including the medical residents. "Who will protect our employees? How can we provide the services expected by the people if our employees do not have the support from management? It is our responsibility to maintain the high morale of every BMC's employees; thus, the management tries to be receptive to their needs." Dr. Ong said.

BMC Medical Residents’ Virtual Graduation

Dr. Loria-Torres and Dr. Moncada are two of the seventeen new graduates of BMC's Residency Training Program. Typically, BMC departments hold a simple ceremony to honor and celebrate their residents' achievements after four or more years of rigorous training. But for this year, due to the pandemic, such kind of gathering is unlikely to do. Thanks to technology and internet connectivity, graduation is made possible online.

Aluzan, Joanne P. MD
Belbes, Rolando C. MD
Hernandez, Eric D. MD
Ramirez, Archimedes T. MD
Bigay, Donna Karen F. MD
Efondo, Wenifredo Jr. O. MD
Imperial, Cindy Ruth A. MD
Moreno, Gamaliel G. MD
Ortiz, Christopher Roy C. MD
Panga, Ruth Elizabeth S. MD
Sorsona, Francis E. MD
Bacsain, Clarinda E. MD
Lautengco, Anna Clarizza V. MD
Loria-Torres, Ma. Elizabeth E. MD
Alegre, Jonathan A. MD
Caballero, Remoo B. MD
Moncada, Ada Angela G. MD

Last January 14, 2021, the BMC PETRU organized a virtual graduation. Dr. Ronnie Gigantone, Chairperson of the Patient Safety Committee, served as the speaker who gave a timely message to the graduates.

“Even though there’s a lot of unfavorable circumstances happening around us, I want you to recognize that we have so much to be optimistic about. Because it is only in times of a great crisis that the opportunity to present oneself arise. Throughout these challenges, you have learned how to adapt to change and be resourceful in the face of adversity.

“We are in a difficult time, and it seems things are getting worse. But remember that right now is only momentary. We will transcend this tribulation. And when we do, I will be expecting great things from you.” Dr. Gigantone said. 

Meanwhile, BMC’s Medical Center Chief II, Dr. Francisco Sales III, congratulated and encouraged the seventeen new graduates. 

“My appeal for you is this: seize the chance and pay it forward to the next generation of physicians. May you remember all the training, mentoring, and coaching that was given to you. For a lot of us, these are key reasons why we get into medicine and why the
field of medicine is so rewarding.” Dr. Sales said.

Graduation at BMC is not the end. It is a new beginning for the seventeen medical resident graduates, who will all take their respective specialty board examinations soon. 

The Bicol Medical Center offers a Residency Training Program in Anesthesia, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Surgery, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Radiology, Ears, Nose and Throat (ENT), Laboratory and Orthopedics. Accepting applicants is ongoing.
Contact the Professional Education, Training, and Research Unit (PETRU).