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Department Of

About Department Of Surgery
General Surgery
Plastic Surgery
Pediatric Surgery


The Department of Surgery has always been an integral part of the College of Medicine since its inception in 1871. The students then worked for the title of “Practicante” or “Cirujano Minstrante” or “Licentiate” to what in later years were the equivalent of “Physician-Surgeon”.

            The first operation in the country is credited to Dr. Juan Z. Miciano together with Drs. Benito Valdez and Gregorio Singian. It is also to the honor of the department that in 1950, the first craniotomy for a tumor, and in 1951, the first pituitary surgery and intracranial aneurysmal surgery, were performed both by Dr. Romeo H. Gustilo. In 1959, Dr. Benjamin Belmonte, together with Dr. Denton Cooley of USA performed the first open-heart surgery for ASD. As mentioned, Dr. Domingo T. Antonio, Jr. led the first successful renal transplant team in 1969. Not to be forgotten is the introduction of truncal ligation of polar vessels in thyroidectomy in 1946 by Dr. Clemente R. Calma. Also in 1948, Dr. Oscar Jacinto introduced the use of gas inhalation anesthesia.

            The Chairmen.The first chairman was appointed in 1908 in the person of Dr. Juan Z. Miciano. Dr. Gregorio J. Singian succeeded him in 1929. Dr. Singian was the founder and first president of the Philippine College of Surgeons. Dr. Nicanor S. Jacinto took over in 1937 and occupied the position for twenty-four years including the dark era covering the war. The succeeding chairman was Dr. Castro T. Surla from 1961 to 1966. In his memory, a lecture is held since 1977. Among the living past chairmen, Dr. Domingo T. Antonio, Jr. occupied the position for nine years (1966-1965). To his credit are the introduction of transurethral resection of the prostate in 1946, the first total cystectomy for bladder carcinoma in 1948, and the first successful renal allo-transplant in 1969. Dr. Irineo M. Palma was chairman of the department in 1975 to 1978, during which period he established the Foundation for the Training of Surgeons and Research in Cancer Surgery. The present chairman, Dr. Jose Antonio Santos, has been at the helm since 1978. He has the exclusive distinction of being re-appointed for a third term, a rarity in this present university system where many were only given two terms or six years.

Sections and Specialties

            Shortly before the last war and the next forty years that followed, the birth and metamorphosis of the specialties were realized. Among the first, in 1949, UROLOGY was established separate from Surgery wit Gerardo Vasquez as its first Head. When classes opened in the same year, it was absorbed in the department with Dr. Domingo Antonio as its section chief. He occupied the position until his retirement in 1982. Dr. Irineo M. Palma was co-chief since 1975. Dr. Fernando P. Parreño assumed the position beginning 1982.

            ORTHOPEDIC SURGERY was the other section absorbed by the Department of Surgery in 1946. Dr. Basilio Valdez headed it first, followed by Dr. Rodolfo Gonzales until 1969. Then, Dr. Guillermo V. de los Santos became its chief until 1979. Dr. Pedro V. Sembrano succeeded him till the present.
            The Section of Abdominal Surgery then under Dr. Nicanor Jacinto, was subdivided into two services under Dr. Castro T. Surla and Jose Fores. There also the Section of Head, Neck, Thorax, under Dr. Francisco Villaroman with also two services under Drs. Oscar Jacinto and Clemente Calma. During the incumbency of Dr. Castor Surla as Chairman (1961-1966), these section swere placed under General Surgery I with Dr. Clemente Calma as Chief, and General Surgery II headed by Dr. Jose Fores. With the merger again in 1970, Dr. Calma remained as Chief of Section of GENERAL SURGERY. Dr. Jose Antonio Santos succeeded him in 1971. When the latter became Chairman of the Department, Dr. Cesencio R. Abes was named in-charge of the sectin since 1978.
            The section of PEDIATRIC SURGERY was created in 1946 with Dr. Serafin Meñes as Chief. He occupied the position till 1966 when Dr. Hernan Reyes succeeded him. When he returned to the USA, Dr. Flora Te took over. When she in turn took a leave of absence, Dr. Henry B. So became Chief in 1969. When the latter couple migrated to the USA, Dr. Willie N. Lagdameo began his term in 1975.

            Just after arriveal from the USA, Dr. Romeo H. Gustilo was named in 1950 to head the newly-created Section of NEUROSURGERY. The specialty thrived with him until his retirement in 1982. Thereafter, Dr. Renato Q. Sibayan acted as Chief of Section.

            At about the same year, with Dr. Paz Fores as Chief, the section of ANESTHESIA was formed. Dr. Luisita Reyes-de Castro followed her as Chief since 1971.

            1959 saw the birth of the section of PLASTIC SURGERY and CARDIOVASCULAR SURGERY. While Dr. Angel G. Agbulos has remained the Chief of the former, Dr. Critino Lazatin briefly held the position as Chief of the latter and he was succeeded shortly by Dr. Benjamin Belmonte. When he also migrated to the USA, Dr. Avenilo P. Aventura took over in 1970. Dr. Aventura subsequently was appointed PHCA Director, thereby, relinquishing the position to Dr. Ludgerio D. Torres.

            THE OUT-PATIENT SURGERY Section used to be manned by Dr. Serafin Meñes. Dr. Ramon A. Frauendorff took over in the sixties. When he became Director of the Out-Patient Department, Dr. Clementino V. Ramos succeeded him. Presently, Dr. Juvenal C. Trinidad is the Section Chief.

The Training of Surgeons

            Truly, the last forty years marked the renaissance in the training of surgeons at the UST Hospital. Although only records of 1948 to 1949 when Dr. Clemente Calma and Dr. Antonio O. Gisbert finished their training could only be had, it is with pride that sixty-five general surgeons have completed their training up to 1985.
            The residents in the training have always been a direct responsibility of the Chairman of the Department. This has been so until the sixties when the stride of the specialty of surgery became faster, hence a training officer in the person of Dr. Constante de Castro was appointed to assist him. As the seventies came, the demand of specialization was felt, thereby necessitating further that the training be handled by a Residency Committee. This was felt, thereby necessitating further that the training be handled by a residency Committee. This was first chaired in 1970 by Dr. Jose Antonio Santos. Subsequently, A Program of Residency Training was developed, with each level of training clearly outlined in the four-year general surgery course. When Dr. Santos became Chairman of the Department in 1978, Dr. Cesencio Abes assumed the position.
Specialization in the field of surgery was inevitable. Eighteen of the sixty-five graduates proceeded to the specialties. Another seven obtained their required one or two years of general surgery in our institution before undertaking fellowship or residency specialties.

            In Urology, Dr. Irineo M. Palma was one of the first to be trained in 1940. In early 1960, Dr. Domingo T. Antonio accepted trainees on a preceptorship, which later on was accredited by the duly instituted Specialty Board.
            Dr. Bibiano Ouano and Dr. Eduardo Farcon undertook this training. In the transition towards formal residency training, Dr. Rene Felipe graduated in 1980. Dr. Jerry Santos and Dr. Edwin Co are the recent graduates of 1985.
            A similar preceptorship training was conducted by Dr. Romeo Gustilo in Neurosurgery. Dr. Remberto Cuisia in 1967 and Dr. Leovigildo C. Isabela in 1971 beefed-up the section upon completion of their training. With their program finally accredited, Dr. Ricardo Enrile graduated in 1983. Thereafter, te section graduates a trainee every two years.

            Dr. Henry So anticipated the needs in the Section of Pediatric Surgery five years before he migrated back to the USA in 1975 and placed Dr. Willie Lagdameo under his tutelage during latter’s General Surgery training and three years more afterwards. At the same time, he obtained accreditation for Pediatric Surger at UST. Dr. Leonardo L. Cua followed and complimented his training with a fellowship abroad.

            Prior to its fellowship program, Dr. Angel G. Agbulos took Dr. Edgardo T. Orlina as preceptee and he was formally accepted by their society in 1981. Fulfilling the two-year accredited program, Dr. Placido Calimag graduated in 1984.

Research Activities… and their Awards

            From some published articles, studiously authored by Dr. Serafin Meñes, Dr. Jose Antonio Santos, Dr. Juvenal C. Trinidad, Dr. Jose Fores, etc. in the early sixties, research activities began at the sustained pace when the Residency Training Committee imposed that yearly promotion of residents to th next level of training will only be recommended upon submission of a scientific paper. A contest format in a scientific presentation was started in May 1969 spearheaded by Dr. Jose Pangan, who was then a member of the Residency Committee. Since then, it was yearly undertaken.

            Through the years, the presentation was painstakingly continued by the Department of Surgery and its consultants shouldered the expenses and prizes. Equally absorbed were the residents themselves who gamely afforde whatever the research project entailed. Beginning the Twelfth Annual Contest and Presentation, Mead Johnson Philippines assisted the department.

            In the seventeen years of this activity, the scientific papers graduated from retrospective to prospective studies. Current projects are more experimental in nature.

            A testimony to the noteworthy achievements of the scientific papers accomplished by the consultants and staff is the forty-six prizes obtained in various research paper contests, namely, seventeen first prizes, sixteen second, ten third and three consolation prizes.

Professional Recognition and Scholarship Awards

            TOYM Awardees. A vivid testimony of the degree of excellence and achievement by members of the staff of the Department of Surgery is the fact that five of tem have been TOYM Awardees in the past several years. A TOYM Award is only given to someone who excelled and distinguished himself in a particular field of endeavor and in so doing has greatly benefited others; and this has to achieve before the age 40. The first member of the faculty to be chosen as TOYM Awardee was Dr. Benjamin Belmonte, one of the pioneers in the field of Cardiovascular Surgery in the Philippines who was given the award in 1959. Dr. Leonardo SJ Martin, a urologist, was given the award the following year (1960). In 1973, Dr. Ludegerio D. Torres, another Cardiovascular surgeon and still an active member of the staff became the next TOYM awardee.  Dr. Peter Figueroa, also a Cardiovascular surgeon was next chosen in 1977. Last, but not the least, was Dr. Willie N. Lagdameo, the present Chief of the Section of Pediatric Surgery, who became a TOYM Awardee in 1980.

Scholarship Recipients

            Appreciating the needs of present day surgery, the department has been alert to opportunities whereby its members would be able to obtain further training and exposure along their specific lines of expertise. Hence, it was most timely that in 1982, Dr. Renato M. Reyes obtained the Takeda Foundation Award on Metabolic and Nutritional Support Services at the Osaka University Hospital in Japan. Dr. Reyes himself pioneered on Hyperalimentation at UST.
            In 1983, the American College of Surgeons International Guest Scholarship was awarded to Dr. Willie N. Lagdameo, the first Filipino and Asian Recipient. The scholarship accorded him the exposure to Pediatric Surgery, Neonatal Surgery, and Pediatric Surgery in the USA, more particularly Chicago, Boston and New York.
            Dr. Fernando Lopez similarly won the Takeda Science Foundation Scholarship for 1985 in Tokyo, Japan. His studies centered on Esophageal Carcinoma and Choledochoscopy.

            In late 1985, also, Dr. Narciso N. Navarro, Jr. left for Louvaine, Belgium after being awarded a scholarship on Traumatology.