Tuesday, April 24, 2007

What is the real living proof of RP doctors' skills?

There is a curious article in the Inquirer today, titled "Mike Arroyo ‘living proof’ of RP doctors’ skills."

Dr. Cariño then goes on to counsel potential patients to '
“Go to a hospital which is equipped with a modern CT scan like a 64-slice capable of doing open heart surgery. Because cases like this require immediate decision-making; once you are diagnosed doctors have to prepare the patient and take him to the operating room.”'

"xxx Cariño acknowledged that such operations [aneurysmectomy and triple bypass] entailed huge costs."

Is this, then, the barometer in which we measure the skill of our doctors?

How about the overworked, underpaid government doctors who work in public hospitals? By President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's own admission:
NGAYON MERON KAYONG MGA GUSTONG PUMUNTA SA PRIVATE HOSPITAL PWEDE PA RIN KASI KUNG MINSAN YUNG INYONG SAKIT AY MALUBHA BAKA HINDI KAYA NG MGA EQUIPMENT NG NATIONAL GOVERNMENT HOSPITAL ABA KAILANGAN PUPUNTA KAYO SA PRIVATE HOSPITAL. MAKAKATULONG PA RIN ITO. KUNG PUPUNTA KAYO DOON SA MGA CLASS NA HOSPITAL NA MARAMING MODERN EQUIPMENT AT VERY SPECIALIZED YUNG INYONG SAKIT ANG TAWAG DOON AY TERTIARY HOSPITAL -- HANGGANG 16,000 PESOS BABAYARAN DIN NG GOBYERNO. KAYA MALAKI ANG INYONG GINHAWA DOON.

KUNG PUPUNTA NAMAN KAYO SA SECONDARY HOSPITAL YUNG MEDYO KARANIWANG HOSPITAL KAYA LANG HINDI KAYA NG NATIONAL GOVERNMENT HOSPITAL, BABAYARAN NG GOBYERNO HANGGANG 11,000 PESOS PA RIN. KAYA MALAKI RIN ANG GINHAWA NG INYONG PAGPAGAMOT.
I really think that the 80% of our people who now seek treatment to government hospitals will be relieved to know that these hospitals had to "start charging normal fees from patients and to operate as an economic enterprise if only to sustain its operation..." Hell, even PGH with its P1.1B annual budget could not manage to increase staffing levels in 20 years.

How about the Doctors to the Barrios program? These volunteers are bereft of "proper equipment" and still they do their missionary work for the underserved. Are they not performing their work with all their skill, too?

I am sure that the great majority of our Filipino physicians work under the Hippocratic Oath even without the benefit of a 64-slice computed tomography machine. Claims made by people like Korina Sanchez exist, but are overwhelmed by the number of "saves" that well-meaning physicians do in public hospitals on a day-to-day basis. This, inspite of soapbox measures like the punitive Medical Malpractice bills pending in Congress. Without counterpart bills for health modernization and increase in staffing and salaries for medical personnel, errors are more likely to be committed.

But doctors can only do so much - they also feel the economic crunch. And when a lot of them do, they don't march in the streets. They just go elsewhere: take up nursing, leave the country.

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