Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Buhayin Mo Ang Pangarap Mo

Dedicated to the students of the La Salle Greenhills Adult Night High School, who at one time enriched my life. Karangalan po ang paglingkod ko sa inyong lahat.

Buhayin mo ang pangarap mo.
Hindi tulad ng agos ng tubig sa dagat
Ang buhay natin sa mundo.
Kung mayroon mang katuparan
Sa lahat ng iyong inaasam
Kailangan nito ng iyong lakas
Sapagkat nasa iyong kamay ang bukas.
Kung pangarap mo'y magiging iyo
Huwag kang magpapalito,
Kung ika'y may hinahanap
Buhayin mo ang pangarap mo.

Buhayin mo ang pangarap mo.
Sa pagsikat ng araw mapapawi ba
Ang pangamba mo sa puso?
Kung mayroong mang paglunas
Sa sugat ng iyong damdamin
Kailangan nito ng pag-unawa
Sapagkat ikaw ang bubuo ng diwa.
Kung pag-ibig ay tataglayin mo
Himukin ang 'yong puso
Kung nais mong umibig
Buhayin mo ang pangarap mo.

Sa lahat ng araw na ginawa ng Diyos
Inilaan Niya ang pagkakataong
Matamo natin ang kanyang itinakda.
Hindi sapat ang pamarisan lamang
Natin ang nakaraan.
Sapagkat ang iniwan sa ati'y lubos
Para sa lahat ng panahon.
Hindi ba't inilaan Niya
Ang buhay para sa ating utang
At sandaigdigang kasalanan?

Buhayin mo ang pangarap mo.
Mapaparisan ba ng liwanag ng buwan
Ang ilaw ng iyong puso?
Mahirap mang paniwalaan
Ang ganitong katotohanan
Ikaw lamang ang makatatamasa
Sa kabuuan ng iyong pagnanasa.
Kung apoy sa puso'y mabubuhay
Huwag umasa't maghintay,
Kung ika'y may ninanasa,
Buhayin mo ang pangarap mo.

Buhayin mo ang pangarap mo.
Maitatago mo ba ang iyong damdamin
Sa lahat ng mga tukso?
Dayain mo man ang iba
Huwag lang ang iyong konsiyensiya.
Kung dala na paghamon ay pangangamba
Manalig ka at huwag mabahala.
Kung mayroong kasukat ang panahon
Ikaw lang ang may sagot doon.
Kung nais mo ang mabuhay,
Buhayin mo ang pangarap mo.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

The Malpractice of Suing Malpractice

In reaction to the news raised by one of my doctor-friends

My .02 on this –

Medical malpractice law must be rooted first in the improvement of medical services. Rather than using the malpractice law as a goad to pinpoint accountability and assign blame, the key factors government should be considering are:

1. The state of the medical profession in the country
2. The professionalism and adequate preparation of medical professionals
3. Giving appropriate monetary and non-monetary rewards and recognition to medical professionals to prevent their exodus
4. Making basic medical care more affordable to the greater mass of the Filipino public.
5. Increasing basic public health awareness so that medicine will be more preventive than curative.
6. Putting more money in public health programs as a percentage of GDP.

The other obvious factors in developing a medical malpractice law are:
  • Creating and maintaining a largely incorruptible implementing mechanism. Who determines the degree of malpractice or neglect? How will they be selected? What is the nature of their involvement – paid or voluntary, temporary or permanent? How do you make them resistant to monetary or other forms of pressure? And most importantly – what makes you sure that making them cops won’t ruin their professional competence and/or judgment?
  • Ensuring that cases are adequately and expeditiously filed and decided upon. Who will report cases? Who will conduct preliminary investigation? How will you secure support from hospital administrators? Where will documentation support come from? Who will rotate the evaluation of cases? How many people will you assign eventually to the whole support structure? How will you ensure that cases of “justice delayed, justice denied” will not proliferate?
  • How can you protect doctors from wrongful filing or nuisance cases?
  • How will you educate doctors in the nuances of the law? And who will educate them? How do you assign levels of accountability – supervising physician, ER physician, head nurse, shift nurse….heck, even the freaking janitor – when a case comes up?
  • In the end, where will all the money come from to make sure this law is properly implemented?

I realize that there are a lot of holes in what I just mentioned, and/or somehow there are structures in place that will do some of the roles…

The government can’t implement a medical malpractice law, not with health care receiving less than 5% of total GDP! It’s f**king crazy if you ask me. The medical profession is best served by a better government program that is focused on developing better health professionals and delivering medical services where they are most needed, i.e. at the rural and barangay levels.

To do that, there are several directions, but the one that sounds best to me is to make internships and training more “organic,” i.e. assigning more interns to do more community work.

The real winners for any medical malpractice law in the Philippines would be the insurance and the medical supply companies, i.e. pharmaceutical manufacturers, medical laboratories, the whole kit-and-caboodle that support the medical profession, without necessarily translating into better medical services. Doctors will ask for more tests, more lab work, instead of doing some real doctor-ing. Yup, these “do-gooders” will have just ensured that medical professionals will seek work overseas, where at least their medical insurance bills would be covered by the higher standard of living of their patients and higher paychecks for them, too.

A law is needed, but lawmakers and public affairs people should first put the state of public health in the Philippines in the proper context.

That’s just about it. More if I think of something later.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004


It's my birthday today. Shhh... I'd rather not hear the words, "Happy Birthday!"

I think I started hating my own birthday, subconsciously, when I was about five or six years old. My brother and I were horsing around in our backyard, where we had a basketball half-court. For some reason or another, the horsing around became a serious shoving match. Naturally, though my brother gave up a few pounds on me, he was older by two years, taller, and probably stronger. So my right eye received the business end of the concrete. I was glad I didn't lose any teeth (in other news, I did get back at my brother by loosening his tooth for him in another episode).

Anyhow, I bawled like the big crybaby I was and fell asleep. It was about five in the afternoon. Because of the fight, my parents chose not to wake me up. So they ate all the goodies prepared for that day and my brother ended up blowing the candles on my cake. Bummer.

Birthdays also often meant periodical exams in school so I never really enjoyed this time of year. Still, it was a bit of fun because two of my other classmates and I had back-to-back-to-back birthdays from the 3rd to the 5th.

Then there was that incident during the time of my 18th birthday when I was finishing some papers for my PoliSci class. It was the 40th day since my maternal grandfather had passed on. He was literally salt of the earth, a carpenter who loved making things with his hands until the last few months of his life.

So there I was, rushing to get some work done. It was 3:00 a.m. and I was writing like crazy to get the work done - no PC then and the typewriter would have been too loud (yes, I am dating myself impossibly here). To this day, I can swear that I heard some noises – first of a saw cutting its way through plywood, then the hammering of nails into wood.

My hackles rose and goosebumps broke out all over my body – but I ignored the sounds at first. It was only when I heard the tinkling of glass, as if my grandfather was pouring himself a shot of Tanduay on ice, that I finally gave up, left the kitchen and lay down on the couch. While I closed my eyes and blacked out the sound, I said a prayer for the repose of his soul. Whether or not that worked, I fell asleep anyway.

(No, I wasn't smoking weed that day. And I wasn't drinking.)

Then there are the specials called... the birthday break-ups!

(Pause... let me digest that line for just one more moment...)

This is the tenth year in a row when something has overtaken my birthday and I was not able to celebrate it with my family. If I can't celebrate it with them, then there's no reason for me to.

Still, a birthday is a chance to be thankful for the gift of life, and hard as it may be for some, life will always be precious. A birthday is a chance to say "thank you" to those who have given me life and nurtured me to become the person that I was. My life is a testament to what they have done for me, and though at times I would tend to blame them for living their life through mine, I'm oh so very glad that they bothered in the first place. Others aren't as lucky.

Happy birthday to me.