[PHOTO AT LEFT - By Marvin Sy President Arroyo points to the marker of the St. Luke’s Medical Center Global City after she led its unveiling yesterday in Taguig City. With her are First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo (left) and St. Luke’s Medical Center Global City chairman Robert Kuan.]

MANILA, JANUARY 17, 2010 (STAR) President Arroyo expressed her gratitude to St. Luke’s Medical Center (SLMC), which she said saved her life and also that of her husband, Jose Miguel Arroyo.

The President led the formal opening of the P9.5-billion St. Luke’s Medical Center at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig yesterday.

“Speaking as a patient of St. Luke’s, together with my husband whose life was saved by St. Luke’s, I can really say that this is a very welcome and a quantum leap in the quality of medical care,” the President said in her brief remarks during the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Accompanied by her husband, who just like her is a regular client of the older SLMC facility in Quezon City, President Arroyo was given a tour of the sprawling 1.6-hectare hospital located at the corner of 5th Avenue and 32nd Street by officials of SLMC.

“I wasn’t supposed to speak. I was supposed to cut the ribbon and open the marker. But if the president of the hospital where I get my general checkup and emergency and non-emergency treatments tells me to say a few words, my life is in their hands, so I can’t say no,” the President said.

The First Gentleman has been a regular client of SLMC, especially after he underwent open-heart surgery in 2007 because of a dissecting aneurysm of the aorta.

His doctors admitted then that he could have died had the condition not been detected right away.

Since then Mr. Arroyo has been in the pink of health and for that, President Arroyo has consistently thanked the doctors at SLMC for saving her husband.

“When I said quantum leap, of course all of us patients already know that St. Luke’s in Quezon City (is) better than 95 percent of the hospitals in America. With this one now, I suppose it’s better than 99 percent of the hospitals in the US,” the President said.

As part of the tour, the President was shown the presidential suite, where she and other dignitaries are confined.

The suite is equipped with its own Jacuzzi, a La-Z-Boy recliner and a big LCD television that made the President exclaim that it was just like a five-star hotel.

SLMC Global City is three times bigger than SLMC-QC, has 14 floors in its main building and is connected to an 11-story Medical Arts building, which houses the clinics of some 400 doctors.

The hospital also provides new jobs for 2,500 doctors and medical personnel and new businesses for suppliers and concessionaires.

Together, the two hospitals now employ 7,000, excluding doctors.

The hospital also has a helipad and a sprawling podium that houses the ancillary services and a multi-level parking area with more than 1,000 slots.

SLMC chairman Robert Kuan said SLMC-Global City’s state-of-the-art facilities will serve Filipinos of all classes as well as foreigners.

He emphasized that Filipinos need not travel abroad for high quality health care.

“In terms of standards, we now have two hospitals, which are equally first-rate,” said SLMC president and chief executive officer Jose Ledesma.

“We’ve been saying that St. Luke’s QC is better equipped than 95 percent of the hospitals in the United States; now there will be two hospitals in the Philippines which are better equipped than most hospitals in the US,” he said.

The equipment include PET-CT scanner, three Tesla MIR, 256-slice CT scanner, Extracorporeal Shockwave Myocardial Revascularization System (ESMR), Prone Breast Biopsy System, and Automated Breast volume scanner.

“St. Luke’s Medical Center-Global City has a team of well-trained, highly skilled medical doctors in virtually all medical specialties including cardiovascular medicine, neurosciences, cancer, ophthalmology, and digestive and liver diseases, among others,” the hospital also said in a statement.

“St. Luke’s deep-rooted passion for customer service extends to Global City. Its full spectrum of innovative customer services has revolutionized patient care. Stationed here are 60 customer care officers at the patient’s beck and call. Premium amenities like over 600 modern hospital beds, computers with free Internet connection in patient suites, 24/7 concierge service, shopping and dining spots, a hotel-like lobby and landscaped decks help make for one-of-a-kind patient experience,” it added. - With Sheila Crisostomo

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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