Manuel Bulauitan, M.D., has cared for patients for more than 40 years as a surgeon in New York. But for the past few weeks, it was Dr. Bulauitan who needed care as he contracted the COVID-19 virus and became seriously ill.
“Early in March, my father’s patients had faith that he would show up to work in midst of a pandemic, as all health care providers have been doing,” said his son Constantine Bulauitan, M.D. “But life had other plans, as he became very ill and needed to be hospitalized.”
Manuel spent approximately 15 days on a ventilator at Hackensack Meridian Jersey Shore University Medical Center, where Constantine is a trauma surgeon. The need for a patient to be on a ventilator is not always a good sign for recovery. “Despite the odds, what comforted me was my trust and confidence in the care my father received. I never expected a miracle. But, I had continued faith in the team of physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, medical residents, and support staff, who displayed a strong belief in the doctrines of medicine, unknowingly, the very doctrines my father championed.”
After a four week stay, Manuel’s health improved and he was able to be discharged from the academic medical center to what is now a customary round of cheers and applause from medical center physicians, nurses, and support teams. When COVID-19 patients are discharged from the hospital the Beatles’ song “Here Comes the Sun” is played over the hospital’s PA system, performed by a medical center physician Alan Zaccaria, M.D.
Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, Jersey Shore University Medical Center has cared for nearly 1,800 combined COVID-19 positive and PUI patients, including those who did not need a hospital stay, and 400 COVID-19 positive inpatients have recovered and been discharged.
“Words cannot express how happy I am about my father’s recovery,” said Constantine. “To all who continue to show up, have faith in yourself and your abilities to heal. Have faith in each other. Have faith that we will succeed. Above all, have faith in humanity.”