The Beginning of PSCCI

As narrated by Noe A. Babilonia, MD
First annual convention

In the beginning, when I tried to sell the idea of a Philippine society for cardiologists who perform cardiac catheterization, Dr. Bun Yok O. Dy was not initially convinced. During our trip to Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia way back 1988 to attend a PTCS course organized by the group of Dr. Spencer King, I thought I have won his approval when he agreed there are definite advantages if such a group could be formed.

But it took another five years before he finally agreed to lead the effort, and only after I gathered some of his protégés to appeal to his love for the craft and to reassure him that we would take care of the dirty work.

The concept that we developed was patterned on the principles for which the Society of Cardiac Angiography based in the U.S. was formed. We saw the need to gather invasive cardiologists in the Philippines to at least exchange notes on our individual cath lab experiences and at most advance the practice of interventional cardiology to a level that would offer maximum benefits and safety to the patients that we serve. We noted that the Philippine Heart Association has not formally created any specific body to address the qualification of people performing cardiac catheterization nor moved to regulate the operation of cardiac catheterization laboratories. With the advent of interventional cardiology, the potential for abuse of said procedure has become significant and the need to police our own ranks was obvious.

After the interventional cardiology workshop in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 1992, which many Filipino cath men attended, Dr. Dy was finally convinced of the role that he had to play. Initial talks with Drs. Marcelito Durante (then president of the Philippine Heart Association), Rody Sy, Romeo Saavedra, Yolando Sulit, Wilberto Lopez and Carlitos Saldivar were very encouraging, and as promised to Dr. Dy, I was ready with a draft of the Articles and By-Laws by January 5 1993. With the help of Vergel Quiogue and James Ho, Said draft was preliminary published. Then the big day, January 12, 1993, came and the Philippine Society of Cardiac Catheterization and Interventions was formally organized in a meeting held at Annabel’s Restaurant in Quezon City. Fifteen incorporators were chosen and the Board of Directors elected. Dr. Dy was of course the President, Dr. Saldivar the vice-president, I was elected Secretary and Dr. Saavedra was Treasurer.

With the help of a lawyer patient of mine, GMA-7’s Atty. Angelina de Guzman, the Society was registered and approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission by February 1, 1993. Dr. Dy faced his first challenged: organizing the Induction Ceremonies. Dr. Gregorio Patacsil, then Asst. Director for Medical Services of the Philippine Heart Center, informed us that Dr. Samin Sharma, an interventional cardiologist from New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital in the United States will be arriving to visit the Philippine Heart Center on recommendation of a Filipino nurse, a certain Rosario Marasigan who works in the same hospital’s cath lab. So we decided to request him to be our guest speaker during the induction. Everything else fell in place as RG Meditron’s Rey Garcia agreed to sponsor the affair on February 27, 1993, while Rody Sy pulled some strings to book us in Manila Hotel.

The choice of inducting officer had to be symbolic so we chose the remaining pioneer of cardiac catheterization in the Philippines, Dr. Francisco G. Dizon. While researching this bit of history, Dr. Sulit revealed that Dr Pertierra, a surgeon at the Philippine General Hospital is recognized to have performed the first cardiac catheterization in the Philippines.

Meanwhile, Dr. Durante worked for the society’s affiliation with the Philippine Heart Association. The decision to be under the umbrella of the PHA was made on the recognition of its influence on Philippine Cardiology. If we have to regulate later the practice of cardiac catheterization and interventions, we need the full backing of the PHA.

Dr. Saldivar followed up the request for recognition by the Philippine Medical Association, which was generously granted. Dr. Saavedra opened the first bank account of the Society while Dr. Ver Quiogue worked on the official logo and James Ho prepared and distributed the invitations.

Stent Workshop

The induction ceremonies were actually held on February 26, 1993, and a member of the audience in the said affair, prominent Filipino surgeon, Dr. Jorge Garcia of the Makati Heart Foundation, became instrumental in the very successful First Annual Convention and Live Demonstration a year later. But that is another story.