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True expertise, according to research – has to reach the magic number of 10,000 hours. For Palawan Eye Center (PEC), reaching 10,000 cataract surgeries is a call for celebration.
PEC Executive Director Dr. Jesus Ong considers this achievement as a result of years of hard work, deliberate practice and commitment. “What it is now is because sa tiwala ng mga tao, blessing ni Lord na suportado ang ating advocacy na itaguyod ang malinaw na paningin para sa lahat – hindi lang sa mga may kaya, kundi para sa mga kapos palad.” The facility has a free service that includes check-up and cataract surgeries for up to 10 indigents every month before the implementation of Universal Health Care.
As one of the high volume cataract and implant surgeons in the Philippines, Dr. Ong recalls their humble beginnings when the PEC was established in 1999. Ong recalls, “Initially, medyo mahirap dahil we really started from scratch, unti-unti binubuo, trinabaho at pinag-ipunan para ma-build up ang mamahalin na gamit.” The center is equipped with the finest available laser technology and proven vision correction treatments. Their latest acquisitions include a Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) for glaucoma and two Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) Angiography machines available in big city hospitals in Manila, Cebu, and Davao.
Marking its 21st year in providing eye care, what Dr. Ong considers to be the big factor of the center’s success is his team of ophthalmologists, nurses, patient care specialists, and laboratory technicians who are not just competent but compassionate.
Looking into the future, Dr. Ong is eyeing the PEC to be a one-stop ocular care hospital and to become a medical tourism destination in Palawan. Patients from other regions and foreigners from abroad have been visiting PEC to seek treatment. “Pinupuntahan kami because of word of mouth, commonly mga kaibigan ng mga nagpagamot na dito. Recently may pasyente kami, sinadya kami galing Phuket, Thailand. Tuwang-tuwa talaga sia, makapal ang salamin simula ng maliit pa siya at ngayon nilagyan ng multifocal implant, happy na happy dahil hindi na kailangan ng eyeglasses.”
He extends his appreciation to the stakeholders that are a big part of PEC’s continuous improvement. “After 20 years and after 10,000 cataract extractions – ako ay lubos na nagpapasalamat sa inyo, sa aming network – mga local government units (LGUs), PhilHealth, DSWD, foundations like Bahatala Foundation and PCSO – tulong palaganap kalusugan sa paningin. Through the years, lalong gumaganda ang aming serbisyo dahil sa mga pasyenteng nagtitiwala sa amin. Na-iinspire kami pag yung pasyente pagdating dito hindi makakita, pero paglabas ng Eye Center ay tuwang-tuwang sila buong mag-anak na kung minsan umiiyak pa. These moments ang hindi kayang bilhin ng pera, the feeling of fulfillment in this profession.”
PEC promises that it will not rest on its laurels, and would continue to strive to provide quality service for patients.