Region 1 Medical Center now developing into a world-class hospital

By Lilia M. Micua

DAGUPAN CITY, April 20 (PNA) — The Region I Medical Center (R1MC) in the heart of Dagupan City is now developing into a world-class government hospital north of Manila under the administration of President Benigno Aquino III.

This was bared by Dr. Roland Mejia, R1MC director, who said the R1MC is presently a 600-bed capacity hospital which is now the biggest government hospital north of Manila. It is so far the only tertiary hospital in Pangasinan catering not only to the people of the province but also from Tarlac, Zambales, Nueva Ecija and Isabela.

R1MC is expected to double its bed capacity once its landmark 11-storey building, designed be the tallest building in Pangasinan, is completed. Its construction is set to start late this year.

It is not only the 11-storey building that will be built but also the five-storey training and eye center and a medical arts building across Arellano St. on a lot owned by the hospital where the dormitory for the hospital staff is presently located.

The 11-storey building for R1MC is part of the hospital modernization program of President Aquino to benefit at least four other government hospitals in the country run by the Department of Health (DOH).

R1MC is also the only hospital in the north licensed by the DOH to do kidney transplantation.

Its first kidney transplant was successfully performed by doctors and nurses trained by the National Kidney Institute in Metro Manila three years ago on a local patient with the organ donated by her relative.

“We transplant only kidney today but we foresee that in three to five years, we will also be able to transplant liver. But this will depend on our new facilities that are coming, which include the 11-storey building,” Mejia said.

Construction of the 11-storey building should have begun two years ago had it not been for a little delay attributed to a case filed by the contractor of the project, not against him but then Health Secretary Enrique Ona, said Mejia.

Nevertheless, he said, the case is expected to be resolved soon.

Mejia said R1MC also intends to become a cardiac center so that people of Pangasinan needing heart operation or by-pass need not go to Manila anymore where they and their relatives will spend more.

But he clarified that the establishment of the cardiac center as well as the catherization center will also be dependent on these additional facilities from the DOH.

Presently, R1MC is the only second government hospital after the San Lazaro General Hospital all over to have an epidemiological center.

Another innovation they will introduce this year, aside from the training and eye center, is an oxygen generation plant that will produce oxygen needed by the patient as the hospital is spending PhP35 million for oxygen alone.

“When we produce our own oxygen, we will save the money allotted for this for the procurement of supplies and medicines for indigent patients of RIMC, he said.

R1MC is also operating the newly established Drug Treatment and Rehab Center in Barangay Bonuan Binloc, Dagupan City which is catering to some 60 in-patients to date. (PNA)