People who visit this blog are most often aspiring medical doctors who like me are weighing the pros and cons of pursuing such a profession. I often get gratuitous comments for my posts even though admittedly, I hardly know anything about being a med student or being in med school. Like a soldier about to wage through a battlefield, I am more of a seasoned spectator than a veteran decorated by wounds from battle.
I received Surgeons Do Not Cry by Dr. Jose 'Ting' Tiongco as a present from my close friend Edge Guevara. For someone on the verge of entering med school, I could not have received anything more perfect. The book is a compilation of Dr. Tiongco's column pieces written for the Mindanao News Agency, detailing his heartwarming, painful, joyous and renegade days as a medical student at the UP College of Medicine. As I was reading through the book, I realized that although I tried to have as much information about med life, it stands nowhere near what doctors/ students actually experience in practice. The idealism-dampening situation of healthcare in the Philippines, the great disparity between academic, book molded lectures and dismal real life situations, the ego stunting environment at the best med school in the country, and the perpetual export of our experienced doctors to the luring promise of milk and honey abroad, are described by someone who lived through it all, and luckily, survived to tell the tale.
Dr. Tiongco writes in a very relatable, non-alienating way. I reckon that even laymen would find his stories very interesting, and quite heart-wrenching. I myself had to stop several times in order to collect my thoughts, stifle the tug on my chest or prevent myself from tears. I hardly get overwhelmed with Chicken Soup like books, but medicine is just something very close to my heart that I consider myself fortunate to have read through such an insightful and well written book. To the readers who frequent my blog, I know many of us are full of anxieties of what awaits us on the far end of the road, I definitely recommend this book and even say that it is a must-read before anyone sanely decides to enter med. I have nothing but heartfelt thanks for Dr. Tiongco. I wish I could I could thank him personally but since I am yet to find a contact information, I am convinced that a better alternative would be to share such an essential and amazing book to my fellow future MDs. Kudos Dr. Tiongco and thank you!
Here is a link to one of the stories on the book, posted by his niece Shaira Tiongo: http://shairationgco.multiply.com/journal/item/92