Review: Surgeons Do Not Cry by Dr. Ting Tiongco

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:

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luiseestrue said...

Hi Aubrey! I have read a lot of good reviews for this book and like you, I'm also planning to pursue Medicine right after my graduation. You're lucky enough to have a copy but do you know where I can buy this book?I heard there are limited copies available but thanks anyway for posting this good review and having such an inspiring blog that someone like me can relate with. Keep up the good work!

Aubrey said...

Hi Luis. My friend told me he bought it off Powerbooks. I don't know what branch though (didn't ask much since it was a gift). Thank you for such kind words. I wish you well on pursuing med. :)

Earl said...

Thanks for this review! I can't wait to get a copy myself. Dr. Ting was one of the Ten Outstanding Boholano Award (Tobaw), it was indeed a surprise. -

This would probably a good reason to come to Bohol then. Best wishes on pursuing med school.

Anonymous said...

hi aubrey,

i happened to come across your blog...i was thinking if you can answer our question. my daughter recently took the nmat last december and unfortunately, her percentile rank did not meet ue's standard of 60. she got 57 for whatever personal reasons she may have. it was a bit disappointing and a surprise because she is a up student graduating on time with fair grades.

our main worry is about her nmat. do you think she can still qualify to ue, plm or other med schools in spite of her nmat percentile rank. she wants to take the april nmat again but do you think schools would accept it.

hoping to hear from you soon. thank you and your blog really inspires readers.

good luck on your med!

Edge said...

That book is really rare, but not as rare as your gift, Creative Nonfiction; A Reader, though a friend of mine verified that the Reader is still sold in UST, since the author Cristina-Pantoja Hidalgo teaches there. haha! But it's rare outside the campus.

That particular copy of Surgeons Don't Cry was bought at Powerbooks Trinoma. I'm not sure, but I do hope, if Powerbooks has the same stock monitoring system that Fully Booked is equipped with. What I mean is, when you go to Fully Booked store, and you're looking for a particular title, once they perform the search and found out that there are no stocks in the branch you're in, they can access the stocks of other branches and point you to the nearest one. Maybe you guys could try that with Powerbooks if Trinoma is too far for you. ^^

Anonymous said...

Hello Aubrey. I have read your blog last year and have wanted to get a copy of that book. Unfortunately for me,I still don't have one. =( Are taking up med now?

Aubrey said...

I guess it isn't that easy to find one. Have you tried Powerbooks Trinoma? I hope they still have it on stock.

I'm not yet in med school. Although I'm hoping I would be when the PLM results are released. Thank you for visiting. :)