Marcelo’s story: An open heart surgery journey through the eyes of his wife

  • Feb 28

On January 12, 2020, Marcelo Licardo and wife Minda, were in their car on the way to their child’s house in Dasmariñas, Cavite, after serving at church and bonding with their grandchild. However, what seemed like a regular Sunday for the couple took a turn when Marcelo started wheezing and had trouble breathing.

 “We were in Quiapo when he started coughing. I asked him what happened, but he just shook his head. We continued with our drive, but it was obvious he was having hard time breathing,” said Minda.

Minda shared that after a while, Marcelo couldn’t handle it anymore. He parked and went out of the car to catch his breath. “I was looking at him—I wasn’t talking to him anymore because he was so winded. He was drenched in cold sweat. I suggested we go to a hospital already since there are some in the area.”

Marcelo, however, insisted that they go to Dr. Catherine Ang, their family doctor. Due to his request, his family consequently rushed him to the ER of De Los Santos Medical Center (DLSMC). From the ER, they were told that Marcelo had to be admitted in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

Confused about the situation, Minda hadn’t fully realized the severity of her husband’s condition until they were referred to Dr. Danilo Santos, head of the De Los Santos Medical Center Catheterization Laboratory Unit, who suggested that Marcelo should undergo a coronary angiogram.

“Twice na siya nag mild stroke and he’s diabetic, so meron na talaga siyang maintenance [medications] but we didn’t have any idea that he had a heart problem. If anything, we thought he had a problem with his lungs since madalas siyang inuubo,” Minda recalled.

After reviewing the results, Dr. Santos explained to Minda that the best course of treatment for her husband was a coronary artery bypass graft (CABG), a type of surgery that improves blood flow to the heart muscle by taking a healthy artery or vein from the leg, arm or chest and connecting or grafting it beyond the blocked arteries. This procedure creates a new passage that redirects oxygen-rich blood around the blockage to the heart muscle.

“We recommend CABG to people who have severe coronary heart disease (CHD), a condition where a plaque builds up inside the coronary arteries. In  

Disconcerted by the news, Minda decided to trust in DLSMC for her husband’s surgery. It didn’t take long for her to realize that she made the right decision when the DLSMC Cardiovascular Surgery Team, led by Dr. Avenilo Aventura Jr., did a successful bypass surgery to Marcelo last January 19.

“During the time na makikita mo ang mahal mo sa buhay na nasa ganung sitwasyon, hindi mo iisipin ang ibang bagay. Ang maiisip mo yung love; na ayaw mo siyang mawala sa ‘yo. I was satisfied with how the treatment went,” Minda said. “The nurses, you won’t see them get fazed because they know it will affect us. They were good at their job, and we felt that they know what they were doing. The doctors were willing to share their knowledge and let you understand the process. The facilities and equipment were also great.”

Minda shared that in the past, Marcelo would always feel out of breath and tired when walking up the stairs, which he would shrug off, often attributing it to his old age (Marcelo is 65). After the procedure, the discomfort in his chest dissipated, proving that it was not his age but rather because of an existing heart condition. Today, she can’t be more grateful for her husband getting a second chance at life.

“Yun ang wonder ng love; kapag nakita mo yung mahal mo na nahihirapan, ipaglalaban mo. This experience opened up everything. I’m thankful to the DLSMC team from doctors to nurses for the quality care and services they provided us.”


DLSMC, a member of Manuel V. Pangilinan’s MVP Group of Companies under the Metro Pacific Hospital Holdings, Inc. (MPHHI) banner, offers complete cardiac packages for coronary angiogram, coronary angioplasty, pacemaker insertion, and coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery.

For inquiries about DLSMC CathLab and CABG package rates, contact DLSMC Product Management at 889-DLSMC (35762) ext. 3190 or or or visit the official website at

Marcelo is happy in love with his wife Minda by his side as he starts his journey to recovery after a successful bypass surgery.