120 getting free operations

Friday, November 24, 2017

The Nikki Cares Surgical Mission organized by Dominique “Nikki” Lopez Benitez, wife of Rep. Alfredo Benitez, is being eyed for duplication in other districts of Negros Occidental.

Nikki Lopez-Benitez, wife of Rep. Alfredo Benitez, with one of the Makati Medical Center surgeons, who joined the surgical mission at the Teresita Lopez Jalandoni Provincial Hospital in Silay City.* Aileen Ascalon Javier photo

The three-day major surgical operations on 120 identified patients started yesterday at the Teresita Lopez Jalandoni Provincial Hospital in Silay City, with the assistance of about 81 doctors and nurses, and health-related personnel of the Makati Medical Center.

The 120 patients, are among the 500 residents in the 3rd district of Negros Occidental, who underwent pre-screening on Oct. 13.

Similar surgical missions were previously initiated in the provinces of Isabela and Aklan. “ We have been doing it for seven years, but the mission has been going on for more than 20 years already,” Nikki Benitez said.

She said Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. asked if it could also held at the Lorenzo Zayco District Hospital in Kabankalan City, to cater to residents of the 6th district of Negros Occidental.

Surgeons and nurses from the Makati Medical Center are performing major and minor surgeries involving thyroid, hernias, cleft lip and palate, gallbladder stones, obstetric and gynecological cases, such as ovarian cysts, small breast masses, among others.

A minor operation costs about P10,000, while a major operation requires P50,000 to P100,000, if performed by private doctors.

Rep. Benitez, who described the surgical mission as a very laudable project, as many cannot afford surgery because it is expensive.

With this project, Benitez said the beneficiaries will avail of major and minor surgeries, free of charge, and held in the district.

“The way I see it, it is something that should be pursued not just today, maybe we can do it regularly, or quarterly,” he added.

This is not a typical medical mission, where medicines and vitamins are being distributed. This time, the focus is surgery, Benitez, who is now on his last term as congressman of the 3rd district of Negros Occidental, said.

“By the first quarter of next year, maybe we can hold it in the 6th district,” he added.

Turning 50 this year, and marking their 25th wedding anniversary as well as the graduation of their son, Nikki said, instead of celebrating, they decided to hold a surgical mission in Negros Occidental.

Aside from tapping the services of the Makati Medical Center health professionals, Nikki added that they also purchased medicines, while others were donated, for the surgical mission.

The surgical mission, that started yesterday and will end Nov. 26, was supported by the mayors of the 3rd district of Negros Occidental, TLJPH, and the Betty Bantug Benitez Foundation.*