Doctor Ted “Everest” Esguerra’s resume is quite breathtaking.
He was the official physician of the first Philippine Mount Everest Expedition that summited the world’s highest peak in 2006. A certified flight surgeon, he was also involved in many rescue operations during disasters, and was also a rescue doctor of the Philippine Coast Guard, specializing in wilderness emergency medical services and aviation medicine, and in high-altitude physiology. He also has some experience piloting helicopters, and is a professional scuba diver.
In 2018, he told this author how his 4×4 rig–his Rescue 1—a model 1999 Mitsubishi Pajero 4X4 Fieldmaster reconfigured into an RCV (rescue command vehicle)—enabled him to extend his life-saving expertise into the barrios, and even beyond.
Doc Ted has been part of many off-road expeditions on medical missions and relief distribution in places accessible only either by foot or by bigfoot 4x4s. He has joined several treacherous missions, rescuing landslide and flood victims in mountainous areas. Most of these areas were hard to reach, and the 4×4 teams that he was part of helped make his group’s mission possible because of their specialized equipment and vehicles.
On March 30, 2020, he posted on his Facebook page that he tested positive for the novel Coronavirus disease. He then posted regular updates—from the time he was picked up by the ambulance, to his confinement at the ICU, until his recovery in a nature sanctuary. He described his battle with CoViD-19 as a “telenovela of sorts.”
In a recent chat via social media, Doc Ted assessed himself as “100-percent operational.”
Describing his ordeal with CoViD-19, Doc Ted said, “Mine was serious, but I did maneuvers to survive.”
His diet now consists mainly of fruits and vegetables and some fish. Doc Ted plans to become vegetarian again. He also advocates for exercise, proper hydration, prescribed supplements, air and ventilation, sleep (which he swears is immunity’s best friend) and sunshine as some of the best defenses the body can take up to best prepare for a viral infection.
To minimize getting exposed to CoViD-19, Doc Ted explained it would be much better to be in open-air than be confined in an air-conditioned room. The best places, he said, would be in open areas where there is no crowd, or there is physical distancing, and with sufficient exposure to sunlight.
Doc Ted also shared his mnemonics for safe travel (and driving) for the “new normal”.
“From the house to the workplace or other destinations and vice versa, anyone can acquire the infection, unless we follow the ‘SAFE TRAVEL’ practices,” he stressed.
SAFE TRAVEL stands for:
S – Self-preparation and self-test: Self and vehicle following the BLOWBAGETS (Battery, lights, oil, water, brake, air, gas, engine, tire and self).
“Don’t drive if sick or under medication, which affects judgement, and may make you sleepy,” he quipped.
A – Always wear minimum PPE (personal protective equipment), which is a mask. Esguerra added, “If needed by work protocol like handling infectious cases, it should be full PPE.”
F – Follow new traffic rules: Lane, Speed, Coding, Parking. He added: “Obey distancing, filling up of forms and disinfection in trains and bus stations and air/seaports.”
E – Everyday carry for the new normal. “Always with wet wipes and sanitizing kit. Carry also a list of on-line transport providers,” Esguerra added.
T – Travel safely and comfortably
R – Review travel plans, guidelines, and advisories
“Always create travel plans, know the destination, transport type, hotels or resorts,” he said. He added that there should be no problem with hotels or resorts, “as long as lobbies have open windows and/or with HEPA filters, not crowded and with a corridor of ventilation.”
A – Always bring exact fare
V – Ventilated vehicles. “If possible, drive with no aircon, and windows open.”
E – Extra courtesy on the road
L – Learn other transport modes like bikes, scooters, etc.
IN PHOTO: Doc Ted, a few pounds lighter, in his 4×4 rig post CoViD-19. The physician to the first Pinoys who summited Everest in 2006 says he plans to become a vegetarian again.