Dr Andrew Taylor, a consultant anaesthetist from Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, was one of 12 doctors from the UK sent to the country to provide emergency medical aid in the wake of the disaster.
They flew to the island of Cebu on Wednesday, November 13 and carried out 100 operations during their 12-day stay. The team also treated more than 1,000 people in a basic field hospital.
Dr Taylor, 41, said: “This was my first time volunteering in the aftermath of a disaster and it was a very rewarding, but tiring experience.
“Tacloban city’s main hospital had been mostly
wiped out by the typhoon and we worked flat out, getting up at 5am and not finishing operating on people until 10pm.”
Dr Taylor splits his time between Maidstone and the Tunbridge Wells hospitals, but abroad he was working in basic tents with limited access to medical equipment and drugs.
He said the experience was far removed his usual working environment: “I would usually have a large anaesthetic machine, but in the Philippines my equipment had to fit in a small suitcase.
“As a result the situations I encountered were really medically challenging, meaning I often had to think on my feet.
“Many of the patients the medical team treated sustained injuries as a result of flying debris, in particular from corrugated metal and coconut trees.
“However we also saw a lot of people with medical conditions not caused by the typhoon because they had nowhere else to go.
“Patients with long-term illnesses that had previously not been treated because they were too poor to access medical services were also helped.”