Pinay gets British decoration for London terror attack response


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Filipina nurse Joy Ongcachuy was among those awarded an Officer of the British Empire award in Britain’s New Year Honours List 2019. (Photo courtesy of Barts Health NHS Trust)

MANILA — A Filipina nurse landed an Officer of the British Empire award in Britain’s New Year Honours List 2019 for her work in treating the victims of the London Bridge terrorist attack in 2017.

Joy Ongcachuy was recognized alongside 42 others, who were involved in the response to major terror incidents in 2017; and British divers Richard Stanton and John Volanthen, who were the first to reach the 12 boys and their coach trapped in a Thailand cave complex for 18 days.

Prominent personalities also decorated were knighted author Philip Pullman and literary icon Margaret Atwood, who became a dame.

Ongcachuy was garlanded an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) award, given to those with “major local role in any activity, including people whose work has made them known nationally in their chosen area.”

She works at The Royal London Hospital since 2002 as a scrub nurse. She was promoted as robotic lead nurse in 2017.

On the night of June 3, 2017, when a terrorist plowed into the crowd and stabbed pedestrians on London Bridge, Ongcachuy was among the first responders at the Royal London Hospital.

In her profile posted by national health service trust Barts Health, Joy narrated: “I was working the night shift that night and I heard the anaesthetist’s bleep go off. We already had a really sick patient in one of our theatres, so I had to get our other theatres ready and pull a team of nurses, allied health professionals and operating department practitioners together”.

“We opened an additional six theatres that night and everyone I called dropped everything they were doing to come to the aid of the patients. No one panicked; everyone was calm and so supportive.”

She also assisted in tending to the victims of another car-ramming attack a week later at the Finsbury Park in London, where one died and nine were injured.

The Filipina nurse expressed appreciation for her OBE award. “My daughter is so proud of me,” she said.

“I am glad I made the UK my home all those years ago – to be welcomed and recognised by Her Majesty is overwhelming, humbling and exciting all at once,” she added.

On Friday, British Ambassador to the Philippines Daniel Pruce congratulated the Filipina nurse for her recognition.

“Many congratulations to Joy Ongcachuy for her richly deserved OBE in recognition of her work treating victims of the London Bridge terrorist attack in June 2017,” Pruce said on his official Twitter account. (PNABy Joyce Ann L. Rocamora


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