GMA  ALLOWS  FG  TO  PLAY  ALL  18  HOLES  OF  GOLF

MANILA
, AUGUST 7, 2007 (STAR) By Paolo Romero - Nearly four months after undergoing open-heart surgery, First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo has recovered and can now play 18 holes of golf, President Arroyo said yesterday.

In her speech at the 21st anniversary of St. Luke’s Medical Center (SLMC)’s Heart Institute, Mrs. Arroyo congratulated the medical team that took care of her husband, especially those who performed the emergency surgery on him last April 9 due to a ruptured aorta.

She noted SLMC’s “world-class heart care” and said the institute’s team “brought my husband back from the brink of death.”

“Now four months later, he can play 18 holes of golf. And when I left Malacańang this morning, he was on his treadmill so he has already put together his own healthy lifestyle as a result of all the advice,” Mrs. Arroyo said. “So thank you so much for saving the life of my husband.”

She recalled the tense moments when Mr. Arroyo was rushed to the hospital from Baguio City where they spent the Easter weekend, complaining of chest and abdominal pains. His personal physician, Dr. Juliet Cervantes, a gastroenterologist, thought the symptoms were not ordinary.

“We first thought that Mike was coming here because of his gastric problems but Juliet, after observing him for so many hours, said it’s too painful for it to be a gastric problem so we had tests done all over again and sure enough, it was the aorta,” Mrs. Arroyo said.

Mr. Arroyo was discharged from SLMC last May 1 and has been visiting the hospital at least twice a week since then for check-up and therapy.

The President was also hospitalized thrice last year due to flu and abdominal illness.

She said she would repay the doctors by ensuring that her administration cares for “the health and well-being of our people.”

She said the country’s macroeconomic fundamentals are at their strongest in a decade that the government is able to spend billions on health care.

She said the government has enrolled four million indigent families or 20 million Filipinos in the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) this year, compared to only 1,500 families in 2001.

Mrs. Arroyo said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III is studying the possibility of allowing outpatient PhilHealth screening packages for heart diseases.

She also said the government was able to put up 10,000 Botika ng Bayan selling half-priced medicine, and reiterated her call to Congress to approve the Cheaper Medicine Bill.

Mrs. Arroyo also asked SLMC to help the government craft legislation for long-term geriatric care as a public health service for the country.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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