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Longtime Presbyterian Hospital of Kaufman Physicians Embark on Mission to Philippines
01/15/2008

KAUFMAN, Texas – For indigent residents of two cities in the Philippines, a visit this week by two Kaufman physicians is more than just a shot in the arm.

Dr. Angelina Rivero receives supplies from PHK president Patsy Youngs for a medical mission trip to the Philippines.

Dr. Angelina Rivero receives supplies from PHK president Patsy Youngs for a medical mission trip to the Philippines.

Click photo to download hi-res image

Dr. Angelina Rivero,, an OB-GYN, and Dr. Manuel Rivero, an internist, will join ten other doctors of various specialties for the five-day, medical/surgical mission. Both doctors are on the medical staff of Presbyterian Hospital of Kaufman, which has donated several boxes of supplies for the trip. They leave Thursday, Jan. 17.

“The trip truly is a labor of love,” said Presbyterian Hospital of Kaufman president Patsy Youngs. “I am humbled by the dedication of these physicians to give so selflessly to improve the health of people half a world away who are in need.”

The trip is Angelina Rivero's sixth medical mission to the Philippines in as many years. She and her husband, both first generation Filipino-Americans, will be traveling with fellow members of the North Texas Association of Philippine Physicians. The association, which boasts more than 50 members in the North Texas area, organizes a medical mission annually.

“This is our way of giving back,” Angelina Rivero said. “Many people there are in need of medical attention but have no access to care.”

Other physicians traveling this year include a general surgeon, a pediatric surgeon, a plastic surgeon and an ear, nose and throat specialist.

“A lot of children there have cleft lip and cleft palate,” Angelina Rivero said. “Our group will be able to perform corrective surgeries for these children and for adults who need surgery for various conditions.”

During their trip in 2004, the group performed 47 operations in a matter of days.

The Riveros will first travel to Iloilo City on the Iloilo province in the Visaya region of Philippines. There, they will embark on the medical portion of their mission, treating local residents for diabetes, high blood pressure, infectious diseases and other conditions. They will then travel by ferry to Bacalod City on the province of Negros Occidental where they will join the surgeons in their group and assist with operations.

Each physician is responsible to fund his or her own travel.

In addition to its annual medical missions, the North Texas Association of Philippine Physicians has partnered with Habitat for Humanity to build a village of 30 homes in another region of the Philippines, Angelina Rivero said. The homes are built for a mere $1,000 each, and they replace the shanties in which many Filipino families live. The project is called Gawad Kalinga, which means, "Giving Help." The organization of physicians provides the materials and guidance, and Habitat for Humanity builds the homes, Angelina Rivero said. The group also plants a garden in the village so residents can grow their own food.

“We want them to become as self-sufficient as possible,” Angelina Rivero said.

Giving back to the Filipino people has become a way of life for Angelina and Manuel Rivero. The couple met in medical school at Far Eastern University and moved to the United States in 1971, after graduation. Nine years later, they were among the first physicians recruited to join the medical staff of the newly constructed Presbyterian Hospital of Kaufman.

About Presbyterian Hospital of Kaufman
Presbyterian Hospital of Kaufman is a member of the Presbyterian Healthcare System and Texas Health Resources. Texas Health Resources is the largest non-profit, faith-based health care organization in Texas. The system was formed in 1997 with the merger of Presbyterian Healthcare System in Dallas, Harris Methodist Health System in Fort Worth and Arlington Memorial Hospital. The system includes 13 acute care hospitals with more than 18,000 employees and 5,000 physicians with privileges on its medical staff.

About Texas Health Resources
Texas Health Resources is one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health care delivery systems in the United States and the largest in North Texas in terms of patients served. THR controls 13 affiliated hospitals and a medical research organization, and is a corporate member or partner in seven additional hospitals and surgery centers. THR's family of hospitals includes Harris Methodist Hospitals, Arlington Memorial Hospital and Presbyterian Healthcare System. For more information about Texas Health Resources, visit www.TexasHealth.org.

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