The year was 1940’s and the practice of anesthesia was considered demeaning, and was relegated to nurses and medical students. It was in 1944, when a chance encounter between Dr. Quintin Gomez and Dr. Joseph Artucio sparked the vision of establishing anesthesiology as an integral part of the practice of medicine in the Philippines.
In Decemeber 1948, Dr. Quintin Gomez came back to the Philip-pines as a full fledged Anesthesiologist after completing anesthesia residency training in the United States. Within a month of his arrival, he joined the faculty of the UP College of Medicine and introduced anesthesia as a distinct scientific discipline in the country.
After almost 40 years since its establishment, through the leadership of Dr. Gomez as section chief, the Department of Surgery created a Section of Anesthesia, and in 1951, the 3-year Anesthesia residency program of the Philip-pine General Hospital was introduced, with Dr. Teodulo San Juan as its first graduate in 1954.
Where it all began…
The establishment of the department began after three decades of dynamic existence under the Department of Surgery. It was in January 1982 when the UP Board of Regents approved the conversion of the Section of Anesthesiology into a separate department, establishing its own identity in the hospital under the leadership of Dr. Lourdes A. Africa as the first chair.
With its independence came the new home of the Department of Anesthesiology, moving its offices to the newly renovated 3rd floor of the Left Central Block. It was during the term of Dr. Salvador Salceda as PGH director in 1983 when the plan to expand the department was initiated, and by June 30, 1986, the department had 14 consultants and 35 residents in its 3-year residency program, the largest in the country.
In 1987, Dr. Alfonso Doloroso established the first subspecialty society in anesthesiology by founding the Society of Obstetric Anesthesia of the Philippines. It was followed shortly after by subspecialty fellowship programs in neuroanesthesia, pediatric anesthesia, pain management, and thoracic and cardiovascular anesthesia.
With the steady rise in the number of surgical cases, the department was faced with the challenge of continually upgrading its services to provide the best quality of care to the patients. Under different administrations, the department updated its anesthesia machines and acquired anesthesia equipment, placing the department among the most modern in terms of equipment in the country. Under different administrations, the department updated its anesthesia machines and acquired anesthesia equipment, placing the department among the most modern in terms of equipment in the country.
Together with the modernization of equipment, the department has also continually updated its practices with research and continuous education. Through these, the department has kept up with novel and challenging patient management, some of which are firsts in the country. The department continues to produce quality graduates who are now leaders in the field and maintain its full accreditation status and in 2016, it was declared a Center of Excellence by the PBA.
From its single resident in 1954, the residency program of the department of anesthesiology has grown to become the biggest and top training program for future anesthesiologists in the Philippines with 38 active consultants, 16 fellows, 1 chief resident, 51 residents and 7 administrative staff. After 89 years of vigilance, research, training, and service to the Filipino people, the UP-PGH Department of Anesthesiology, continue to commit to excellence and leadership in the practice of anesthesiology, perioperative medicine, and algology.