A hundred medical professionals from the Tzu Chi International Medical Association (TIMA) and the local area and 222 Tzu Chi volunteers participated in the free clinic to provide medical services in internal medicine, pediatrics, ophthalmology, dentistry, and surgery. Local governmental officials, staff from the Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies, nursing school students, and teachers and parents from the Silang Central Elementary School also volunteered their services.
A total of 2,132 people were treated for various medical conditions: 384 in internal medicine, 567 in pediatrics, 455 in ophthalmology (66 of whom went on to have surgery at the Tzu Chi free clinic center in Manila), 521 in dentistry, and 205 in surgery (72 of whom were sent to a hospital in Manila for operations).
Officials from the Silang government presented some bamboo banks full of coins to Tzu Chi volunteers. They had visited the Tzu Chi complex in Manila on May 12 and were impressed to learn about the charity work of the foundation. So they took back 60 bamboo banks on that day to save money for the needy.
At eight in the morning, patients started to pour in. Reynaldo Martillano, 51, came to the surgical department for help. He took off the gauze mask he was wearing to reveal a nose covered in cotton. When a doctor removed the cotton, the sight of a bloody red lump in the place of his nose made everyone around gasp. Martillano said that a tiny pimple had appeared on his nose ten years ago. He squeezed it to remove the pus within, but it became infected and started to fester. As a mason he had no steady income, so he never sought treatment. The Tzu Chi doctor determined that Martillano might have skin cancer. He arranged for him to get further examination in a hospital.
There was another typical case of poverty preventing people from seeking medical help. Rafael Dimailig, 52, had had a tumor on his right shoulder for 15 years because he couldn’t afford an operation. His tumor was removed at the free clinic. “The free medical services you offer mean a lot to us,” said Dimailig. “We’re really grateful to Tzu Chi for providing us with free medicine and treatment.”
To thank the medical professionals for participating in the free clinic, Tzu Chi volunteers presented to each of them a blanket made from recycled PET bottles, a certificate of gratitude, and a DVD showing news clips of free clinics provided by TIMA.
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