Dr. Jonas Del Rosario wears his simplicity, his unassuming ways, and his heart on his sleeve. Back in 2014 when he and I first collaborated on a project to help heart kids I was very much impressed by his down to earth demeanor and his dedication to his patients.

By then he was already a well-known and esteemed pediatric interventional cardiologist, and the chair of the pediatrics department of St. Luke’s Medical Center in BGC. In spite of the stature he carried no airs at all. We had a simple lunch at a fast food outlet where he himself drove the patients we were meeting with, to and from his clinic. Jonas has always put the welfare of his patients above anything else. He treats everyone fairly and with great dignity. 

When he came down with Covid on the last week of July, thousands of people were so concerned about him. If prayers could break down the gates of heaven, the gates would have come crashing that very day. 

Jonas is selflessness personified. His dedication to his patients and his country know no bounds. Sometimes, even at the expense of his health. I asked three of his colleagues at the PGH to share their thoughts about Jonas and reading through them you will see how Jonas’ kindness and duty to serve shine through. 

Dr. JayJay Germar

I work with Jonas in the Crisis Management Team / COVID Operations Group of PGH. He is a genuinely good person. He would always intercede for people who need the services of PGH. He is the first to alert us when a healthcare worker needs our help. He finds ways to make sure every one gets help. His decisions would always be for the best interests of the healthcare workers and the patients. He is also the one who would make it a point to ask for good vibes posts to keep the team going. He recently changed the lyrics of two songs : Close to you (COVID 19 version ) and Mahirap magka COVID and insisted on having the group sing the songs for fun and well, to educate people. The outpouring of love and prayers when he got sick shows how many people he has touched and helped. He is the kindest, most selfless person I know.

The PGH Crisis Team

Dr. Jon Cu

It has been both a pleasure and privilege to be mentored, and later on, work with Dr. Jonas as a colleague in the Philippine General Hospital and other hospitals. As the pioneer of Interventional Pediatric Cardiology in the country, he is well known for his passion and dedication for kids with congenital heart problems, regardless of their status, he will do everything for his patients. 

He also has this uncanny ability of teaching and communicating complex medical problems into simpler, and easily understandable terms for his trainees and patients as well, which may be the reason why he was chosen to be the spokesperson of the Philippine General Hospital.

Bloodletting for his beloved Lions Club

When the COVID 19 pandemic hit our country and the PGH was chosen to be one the COVID Referral Centers, he did not hesitate to join the Crisis Management Team of the hospital, notwithstanding the danger and sacrifices it entails. He’s been in and out of the hospital almost everyday to help in planning, gathering donations, making rounds in the COVID wards and updating the media with regards to the status of the hospital in response to the pandemic. He tested positive for Covid himself last April 2020 and was quarantined for a few days but as soon as he tested negative and got clearance from the hospital infection control committee, he immediately went back to work.

Even during the pandemic, he was instrumental in devising a scheme for the hospital to continue seeing not only Covid patients, but also non-Covid patients needing the expertise of PGH doctors especially pediatric patients with critical congenital heart disease. Unfortunately, he tested positive again for Covid last week of July and this time around, he had severe symptoms, and difficulty breathing, and was admitted in PGH for respiratory support and treatment.  But even in his hospital bed, he still continues to be active in hospital operations, communicating with hospital officials and media alike, showing just how dedicated he is in trying to help the country fight this pandemic. 

Dr. Jubert Benedicto

He is a focused spokesperson. Really trying to put out valid PGH news thru the media. Mahaba ang patience with media.

But he is a hard patient. Nangunguna pa sa mgaorders ng doctors when he was admitted. Making rounds on him feels na ma-revalida ka at madaming tanong. Sometimes I have to say na “Kami na ang bahala sa yo. Ako ang mag update sa wife mo. Your task is just to rest and try to get some sleep.” Mahirap maging spokesperson ng isang spokesperson.

Jonas and his mom, Mameng

Jonas is slowly on the way to recovery. Today on his Facebook, he posted a photo of the sunrise from his PGH room with the words “Thank you for the prayers. Getting stronger. #rayofhope” Jonas we wish you well and we pray for your complete recovery. Doctors like you, and the selfless service that you give to your patients, and your country, is the much needed ray of hope that tall of us need during these challenging times.

This story first appeared in the Lifestyle section of the Philippine Daily Inquirer on 9 August 2020

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