Wednesday, April 12, 2006

To My Tukayo

berdemd posts as a kind of response to my post (or maybe not):

To my colleagues, try to remember why you wanted to be a doctor in the first place. If you thought being a doctor was going to make you rich (as most people would still assume), think again! I laugh AT you and not with you. Plus, I would strongly suggest career counseling coupled with a sincere psychiatric consult. If that doesn't work, try shock-therapy with a pre-recorded voice message loudly repeating the words "What the heck were you thinking??"

Things do change when you are faced with a different paradigm. For a very few people, medicine is a career of service. But for most of us, let's face it, we didn't work our butts off for seven, eight, nine, or ten years just to earn less than P30,000 a month as Dr Bisnar relates in this article.

Look at the indecision of a medical student:

It largely depends on the individual. Any profession is a struggle, and one must choose a path in which he will be satisfied. We cannot demand every doctor to make sacrifices, but we have to appreciate those who do. It is unfortunate that the few doctors who remain in the barrios receive death threats, and are sometimes even killed, by powers-that-be who do not wish our people to progress.
Personally, I remain undecided. As I hurdle challenge after challenge in med school, I learn a lot of things: the vastness of human knowledge; the importance of empathy; and the fragility of human life. In time, maybe the path ahead will be made clear.

Compare with the battle-scarred physician:

"Hi doc Willie. Sorry to write you now but we are having a personal crisis. To be honest, I’m questioning my values and priorities because I now want to go abroad. My life here continues to worsen. It seems like I can’t stay anymore..."

"I’m currently working two jobs at the same time, teaching medicine and working at the health center, and I’m still looking for a possible third job still. Our income is not enough doc. There are very few paying patients because life is hard…"

It is a very interesting debate, on the brain drain, on the merits of serving the masses. But on the flipside, there is the hard, cold reality - your parents did not raise you to be a martyr. They wanted you to enter what they knew before as a "sure, well-paid profession" - Medicine. Think about it.

I was also idealistic then, before I saw my Surgery consultant taking up Nursing and other consultants fighting over patients.

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