SCENE CITY| SPMC celebrates milestone –marks 100 years

TODAY, as the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) celebrates it 100th year as a health care institution, many versions of its history exist.

Gathering documents related to SPMC was not a simple task since certain events such as World War II, transfer of hospital and other events made the task a difficult one.

DR. LEOPOLDO J. Vega (2008-Present)

DR. LEOPOLDO J. Vega (2008-Present)

The biggest impediment that systematically precluded further exploration of significant historical documents related to SPMC was the fire that razed the 92-year-old original concrete hospital building in J.P. Laurel Avenue, Davao City in 2013. The fire burned all physical historical records kept in a storage room located in the main hospital building.

To date, the oldest document found regarding Southern Philippines Medical Center’s inception is a copy of a 1917 act passed by the Philippine Legislature, appropriating an amount for the “purchase and acquisition of equipment… for the Davao Hospital…”

 An Act appropriating funds for the necessary expnses of the Government of the Philippine Islands during the fiscal year ending December thirty-first nineteen hundred and nineteen, and for other purposes, Act 2785 was approved December 21, 1918, a legislation that stipulated the budget for personnel services, and operating expenses in Davao Hospital. For the year 1919, salaries and wages were appropriated for one resident physician, one superintendent and property clerk, three nurses, four ward attendants, one cook, one assistant cook, and five laborers.

The report of the Governor General for the year 1918 mentioned that a temporary wooden hospital pavilion was constructed in Davao by the Bureau of Public Works to accommodate patients until a concrete hospital building could be used. At this time, the government had obtained and cleared a site for the permanent hospital building and requisitioned part of the construction materials.

 The report of the Governor of Mindanao and Sulu for 1919 declared that the construction of the hospital building in Davao started in May 1919 and that the front wing was 80% complete by the end of the year.

 One of the oldest documents that mentioned the name ‘Davao Public Hospital’ was the Philippine Health Service annual report for the year 1920. The document reported that, despite the great need for more personnel in the existing hospital, the hospital staff performed major operations in the “very inadequate” operating room and successfully treated 16 cases of typhoid fever with “intravenous injection of an emulsion of atenuated living typhoid bacilli.” A short portion of the document reported that the new hospital building would have a 50-bed capacity and that its construction was estimated to be finished by June 1921. Another part of the document mentioned that, on 22 August 1920, Dr. Simeon Macasaet was appointed Resident Physician of Davao Public Hospital.

This report by the Secretary of the Interior announced the completion of the construction of the public hospital in Davao during the year. The hospital building was described as “one of the modern hospitals in Mindanao,” which also features a dispensary, a nurses’ dormitory, a doctors’ quarters, and a park. The new hospital was inaugurated on 28 November 1921.

DR. GERARDO D. Cunanan (1990-2007)

DR. GERARDO D. Cunanan (1990-2007)

DR.ASUNCION A. Paraan (1986-1990)

DR.ASUNCION A. Paraan (1986-1990)

DR.JOVENAL Q. Quintana (1985-1986)

DR.JOVENAL Q. Quintana (1985-1986)

DR. REYNALDO A. Jacinto (1983-1985)

DR. REYNALDO A. Jacinto (1983-1985)

DR.ALBERTO A. Gahol (1971-1983)

DR.ALBERTO A. Gahol (1971-1983)

DR.MANUEL P. Babao (1939-1970)

DR.MANUEL P. Babao (1939-1970)

DR.BENITO M. Panganiban (1930-1939)

DR.BENITO M. Panganiban (1930-1939)

 DAVAO GENERAL HOSPITAL

In 1950, the Mayor of Davao City reported the damages sustained by the buildings of Davao General Hospital during bombings in World War II. The report also described the structural repairs that had to be done by the US Medical Corps and the District Engineer’s Office. By this time, the reconstruction of the main building and the Nurses’ Home had been completed, while that of the Private Patients Pavilion was nearing completion. A new x-ray building had also been erected. The report also briefly mentioned the hospital expansion plans of Dr Manuel Babao, the Chief of Hospital at that time.16

 DAVAO REGIONAL MEDICAL AND TRAINING CENTER

In 1957, an act mandated the establishment of Davao Regional Medical and Training Center and appropriated funds for the construction of its buildings. The planned 350-bed-capacity hospital was also intended to become the referral center that would provide special medical services to patients in Mindanao.

 A Memorandum from the Office of the City Mayor to all City Officials, Chiefs of Offices and/or Departments in the City of Davao dated December 10, 1964 was sent to different officials and heads of government offices in Davao City to inform them about the inauguration of the Davao Regional Medical (and) Training Center on 12 December 1964. The memorandum also pointed out that the event was significant since the hospital was expected to provide specialized medical services to residents of Davao City.18

 DAVAO MEDICAL CENTER

 An Act changing the name of the Davao Regional Medical and Training Center in the City of Davao to Davao Medical Center, Batas Pambansa 319 (1982) was approved on November 14, 1982 mandated the renaming of Davao Regional Medical and Training Center to Davao Medical Center.

 SOUTHERN PHILIPPINES MEDICAL CENTER

 In November 2009 the hospital name ‘Davao Medical Center’ was changed to Southern Philippines Medical Center through Republic Act No. 9792. The legislation also provided for the increase in the hospital’s authorized bed capacity from 600 to 1200 beds.23 In 2016, the Secretary of Health issued a set of rules and regulations on the hospital’s services, human resources, equipment, infrastructure, systems development, and quality management to ensure the implementation of Republic Act No. 9792.24

The present hospital administration, with Dr. Leopoldo J. Vega as Medical Center Chief, is working with DOH to implement this mandate. Structures in health care—buildings, facilities, equipment, programs, health care staff and their organization, and fiscal organization—are the settings and instrumentalities that enable appropriate processes and favorable outcomes of health care to happen.

The evolution of SPMC as a provider of hospital-based health care continues, and we have these pieces of evidence to remind us of SPMC’s remarkable past.

Posted in Lifestyle