Apr 12

The Risks You Do Not Take

The irony is that everything happened in front of the Supreme Court of the Philippines, a 200-meter sprint from the Department of Justice building. I had just attended a mentor’s Christmas party and was walking home just outside the hospital where I had spent almost a third of my life training to become a physician. Looking back, the street was well lit even though it was quarter past midnight. However, the traffic light along Taft Avenue was on green, hence the few jeepneys cruising Padre Faura at that time were stuck on the other side of the intersection. The iPod, long-sleeve polo and jeans didn’t help; I resembled a wandering, inebriated Japanese on his way to get a taste of Manila’s nightlife.

He was walking in the opposite direction. Before I realized his motive, he rushed towards me, grabbed my upper body and declared, “Holdap ‘to!” Continue reading →

Apr 12

Where X Stands for Everything

Medical students and doctors have this nasty habit of using the letter “x” to stand for anything and everything. To illustrate:

An intern sees a Px in the ER, elicits pertinent SSx, and writes his clinical Hx in the chart. The resident-in-charge examines the Px and subsequently orders Dx and Tx, which include getting a CXR to check for a possible rib Fx. Seeing that the Px might be suffering from an acute appendicitis, the receiving physician then refers the Px to a Sx resident for further Mx.

Continue reading →

Dec 11

On Making the Wrong Diagnosis

To any medical student, no task is more daunting than having to come up with a diagnosis for a patient who comes to him or her for medical opinion. I am not referring to patients seen in the wards or in the outpatient clinic, but to family members or friends of family members complaining of headache, difficulty breathing, abdominal pain, or some skin lesion, among other things. Being the first doctor in the family (and my mother being the friendly village pancit vendor), I have had my share of such patients when I was in medical school. Continue reading →

Nov 11

Kung Paano Ako Mag-aral Noong Ako ay Nasa Med School

  1. Hindi ako nagha-highlight ng libro at transcription. Nadudumihan ako sa mga pahinang ginagawang coloring book ng mga kaklase ko. Sinubukan kong mag-highlight noong first semester ng first year med proper; hindi epektib kasi kailangan ko pang isipin kung kailangan ba talagang i-highlight ang gusto kong i-highlight, at hindi ako makapili kung anong kulay ang gagamitin. Continue reading →

Aug 11

Sampung Payo para sa mga Kukuha ng Medicine Board Exam Bukas

  1. Mag-aral nang mabuti sa Biochem. Ito ang first exam. Dapat “good vibes” agad. Kapag pangit ang pakiramdam mo unang exam pa lang, iisipin mo na ‘yan araw-araw hanggang sa panlabindalawang exam. Continue reading →

Jul 11

The Doctor I Do Not Want to Be

Through Ofelia Reyes, a 36-year-old laundrywoman and mother of two, I would get to know the resident physician who I’d never want to be. To this day, remembering what transpired that night in Ward 1 still makes me shudder, for I had never thought anyone could commit such atrocity to a patient spending whatever was left of her short life confined in her charity hospital bed, not knowing whether the next attempt to take a deep, painful breath would be her last. Continue reading →

Jun 11

How I Got into INTARMED

Using her then box-type cellular phone with a 15-minute battery life, my unassuming mother delivered the good news that would ultimately lay down my career path.

“Anak, congratulations! Nakapaskil dito sa blackboard. Nakapasa ka!” Continue reading →