Alistaire Ocarol, a Filipino telemetry technician in the US.


Receiving first Covid-19 patient: Filipino hospital staff shares encounter


FLORIDA – “I was there when we received our first COVID-19 person under investigation,” said Alistaire Ocarol, a Filipino telemetry technician and unit clerk at a hospital in the US.

Ocarol, who is also a certified nursing assistant, was at first hesitant to tell his story, but said he decided to share it to send a message to Filipinos and Overseas Filipino Workers.

In the telemetry unit of a hospital, patients are often in critical condition and need constant monitoring and care. Telemetry nurses review data from special equipment to track a patient’s heart rate, blood pressure, breathing and other vitals.

Ocarol, 39, works with patients and the elderly”, needing to be “extra cautious because I work with high-risk groups”.

“My job is to attend to the needs of the doctors, supervisors, and nurses such as making sure that they have their PPEs (personal protective equipment) ready before going to the isolation rooms. In the ICU, I am more focused on interpreting and monitoring patients’ EKG/ECG and vitals,” he said.

Life was “routine”, until coronavirus came along.

“I was there when we received our first COVID-19 person under investigation. I prepared the room, turned on the negative isolation, prepared the nurses’ PPEs and ICU equipment, did some running around, and just got everything in order,” he recalled.

“It was all very sudden. The patient was transferred to our facility from one of our network of hospitals as possibly infected with coronavirus. We were stunned,” he told

“I saw the nurse assigned to the patient just outside the room. [My colleague] stared blankly in space. I felt her hesitation. I felt her fear and worry. I approached her, talked to her, and assured her that everything will be all right and that if she needed anything, to just call me. I then checked that she was fully geared up. I got her back,” he said.

The Filipino said he feels a moral obligation to help everyone, especially during these unprecedented times. “I am not there only to assist the patients, the doctors, the supervisors, the visitors, and the nurses. I am there to give them moral support. This has been part of what I do since working in this facility,” he said.

The healthcare professional praised nurses for their valiant efforts in the fight against coronavirus. “What I do is nothing compared to what our nurses do. I know about all of their struggles as I work alongside them. They deserve all the recognition,” he said.

Message to OFWs

Ocarol also had a message to send out: “To my fellow Filipinos, we are all blessed! Front liner or not, it doesn’t matter. Each of us is now responsible for each other. Just do your part and stay home so that we, the medical practitioners and OFWs, also get the chance to go home and be with our families again.”

What is he afraid of? “I am most afraid of not seeing my wife and kids for a long time. I want my 12-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son to be proud of me. I want to tell them just how much I love them, [and] to stay focused, stay positive, be good, do good, and that everything will be okay soon,” he said.


A condensed version of this story first appeared in STORIES UP FRONT, a compilation of inspirational stories from COVID-19 warriors. Follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Also, support PROJECT COMPASSION towards buying PPEs, N95 mask, face shields and more. 

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