Selfless until the end
Dr Rosalinda Pulido's calling to help others
The 46-year-old doctor, who was devoted to aid those with cancer, didn't hesitate in joining frontliners to treat patients with the coronavirus disease
BY Ahmed Cayongcat and Jiselle Casucian
Selfless until the end: Dr Rosalinda Pulido's calling to help others
MANILA, Philippines – Responding to the call of those direly in need of help during the coronavirus outbreak, 46-year-old Dr Rosalinda “Rose” Pulido didn’t hesitate to join the frontliners in treating patients with the fast-spreading disease.
Seen by many as a compassionate and dedicated doctor, Pulido was a medical oncologist who devoted her time to aid those with cancer, and was known for attending to charity patients with care and attention.
In the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, she offered her remaining days on the front lines of San Juan de Dios Hospital in Pasay City. Even when she started exhibiting symptoms of the disease and was self-quarantined, she was determined to recover and go back to the front lines to help her colleagues.
“In two days probably, I would be cleared,” Dr Pulido said. “Antayin niyo ako, ako bahala diyan. (Wait for me, I’ll handle it.)”
She did not make it. On March 21, she succumbed to the disease.
Her family said the selfless doctor was not just another statistic. (READ: 9 Filipino doctors die fighting at front lines vs coronavirus)
“Our sister is not just a COVID-19 patient number. She is a true hero – a selfless, compassionate, and dedicated doctor,” her family said.
“Her memory is not defined by how she died but how she lived. Her kindness, generosity, and compassion will always be remembered. We love you, Rosey, and we will continue the fight you tirelessly started,” added Kennard Quilao Felix, a friend of Pulido's.
Always compassionate and kind
“Bunak,” as Pulido's friends and family called her, was the fifth of 8 siblings.
Described as the bravest and brightest among the Pulido family, she was exceptionally smart, having been a consistent honor student from elementary to high school.
She went on to take Biology at the University of Santo Tomas and graduated in 1993. She then studied medicine, with a specialization in oncology, at the De La Salle University in 1997, and was later voted as Best Resident during her residency program.
In an open letter posted on Facebook by her family, Pulido was described as one of the kindest and most selfless in the family, always catering to the needs of others – whether family or strangers. (READ: Beyond ultimate sacrifice, Dr Greg Macasaet remembered for his selflessness)
“You were a very compassionate, dedicated, patient, and caring doctor who devoted time to each patient, even charity patients. You had a sweet smile for everyone,” they added.
A calling to the front lines
Pulido initially wanted to become a marine biologist. True to her selfless nature, however, she decided to study medicine for the sake of her family.
“We know that medicine was not your first choice and that you originally wanted to become a marine biologist studying whales, but you thought we needed a doctor in the family. To you, it is always others, before self,” Jeanie Pulido, one of her sisters, said.
But becoming a doctor was a calling she learned to love. Eventually, she enjoyed the craft for the opportunity it gave to serve others.
Pulido went on to treat cancer patients at the Cancer Institute of St Frances Cabrini Medical Center in Batangas, even leading clinical trials for cancer treatment.
“She was very active in doing events for our cancer patients. She was a strict but very kind person. Her advice and suggestions for the hospital really helped align some protocols of the hospital,” said Nida Carpio, Pulido's former executive secretary at St. Frances Cabrini Medical Center.
Pulido knew that cancer treatment was, at best, draining and discouraging, including for the patient's loved ones, which was why she understood the importance of providing hope for them.
“Some survive but for those who are in the late stage of cancer, at least I can serve as an instrument for them to extend their life and spend more time with their families," Pulido used to say when asked about her cancer patients.
Selfless from the start
Pulido's selflessness also went beyond her family and work, as she helped fellow classmates and friends throughout her life. (READ: 'Doki to the barrios': Dr Israel Bactol's commitment to serve)
In a Facebook post, her schoolmate Charmaine Javier Linao recalled a time when Pulido helped her through rough times when they were taking their medicine courses. For her, she would never have been a general surgeon if it weren’t for Pulido.
“When my family became financially down, I was sheltered by Rose…She was my family and my inspiration at the lowest point in my life,” Linao said.
Pulido let her stay in her dorm, shared her resources, and offered financial assistance until her friend could stand on her own two feet.
Tina Dem, a close friend also from medical school, remembered Rose’s selflessness in conversations prior to her death.
“Even though she was in bad shape, she still managed to keep [her real situation] from us. She probably didn’t want us to worry, so she told us she was better,” Dem said.
Dem, through a member of the hospital staff, then found out that she had been moved to the intensive care unit due to her worsening state.
To honor the late doctor, classmates, coworkers, and relatives recounted their memories with Pulido on social media, even making tribute videos to commemorate her work and life.
“Bunak is now an angel...I salute the way she lived her life – full of love, compassion, and kindness,” Jinky Jamir, another close friend from medicine school, said.
As of Sunday, March 29, there are 1,418 confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease in the Philippines, with a death toll of 71. – Rappler.com
Ahmed Khan Cayongcat and Jiselle Anne Casucian are the News Editor and Features and Circle Editor, respectively, of The Varsitarian, the official school publication of the University of Santo Tomas.