This was the speech of Dr. Antonio P. Ligot to the graduating senior interns of UERMMMC batch 2008 held on May 13, 2008, at the College of Medicine Auditorium. A UERMMMC Medicine alumnus (UERMMMC (Class 1968), Dr. Ligot is a general surgeon and a missionary doctor to the tribes in Ifugao Province.
My dear graduates, today marks a milestone in your lives. You have now earned the title: Physician–one who practices medicine and is concerned with maintaining and restoring health through the study and diagnosis of diseases and injuries.
In our country, the physician is broadly known as a “practitioner of medicine.” Many of you, however, will not be comfortable to be just physicians in a broad sense but to become physicians in a “narrow sense,” and that is to go into a specialty or furthermore to go into a sub-specialty. There is really nothing wrong with that. But this is not what I will be talking about today. I have chosen to speak on a simple and humble subject which may probably raise some questions in your mind: the blessings and joys of a Physician.
Truly, what are the blessings and joys that a physician will experience in his lifetime? Quite a number of you can recite a few, such as... a physician will never go hungry, you´re your own boss, a lot people entrust their lives to you, etc., etc.
Webster defines a blessing as a divine favor, while joy is an emotion of happiness. With that as a background, I would like us to look at the blessings and joys that await a physician.
Everyone of you have been taught by the group of Dr. Vicente Cabuquit to look at the individual human person, whether he is a patient or not, in his physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual, material and social condition, so we are going to look at your blessings and joys in these different aspects.
Physical/intellectual. First, let us not forget that you are fortunate to have parents who sent you to the best medical center on Aurora Blvd. and that you were divinely enabled to have survived the grueling five years and be sitting where you are now. As a physician, you know the human body; no other professional knows better than you do. Your knowledge of the functions and effects of illness on it gives you the responsibility of caring for your own and others, better than those of other professions. What a joy it is to have a blessing such as this.
Emotional. As physicians, you are again divinely gifted with the ability to understand and explain certain disturbances in your consciousness and or unconsciousness, and be able to expertly address them. Because of this, you are able to effectively help, with compassion and kindness, on your patientís emotional concern. However, you must be aware that this is easier said than done.
Spiritual. As a physician, people entrust their lives to you. And because you have this divine responsibility, whether you like it or not, you often hear remarks such as “Utang ko ang buhay ko kay duktor” or “Kung hindi kay Dok, wala na sana ako.” Looking at it in a more specific realm, with your spiritual and religious upbringing, it is your obligation to let the patients know and believe that healing comes only from God, and that physicians are only being used as His instrument for the situation at hand. Should the certainty of near-death face our patient, the Christian doctor should take the extra mile of explaining to him or to his relations the Biblical truth about the saving knowledge of anyone who believes and accepts as Savior our Lord Jesus Christ, who alone gives eternal life. And what a joy it is to know that a patient would be unafraid of death because of the assurance of being reunited with loved ones in future time.
Materially. As a physician, you can choose to be in material want, but I believe, though some of you might disagree, that you can NEVER, repeat NEVER choose to be in material need. Your profession is a divinely gifted one that no physician will ever experience having no food on his table, clothes on his back or a roof over his head.
The practice of medicine does not only involve the care of patients but also entails research and education or health governance, whether in the public or private sector. Your services will in many and special ways be remunerated. Those of you who may elect to be like me and pursue a missionary medicine calling, where most patients you meet are WWTs (“walang wala talaga”), material needs are met by individuals, churches and organization supporters who not only say “they care” but show that they do care about your mission work.
Socially. As physicians, you are divinely endowed with a special status in society. You are regarded in high esteem, so much so that in certain ethnic and rural and occasionally even urban communities, physicians are considered so knowledgeable and have ready solutions to many concerns. Because of this, some of you-and I hope not-may be lured to become politicians.
Let me end by saying...as a physician, you will talk about endless joys, you will experience countless blessings, and it is my prayer that you will thank God for all of these. There will be numerous difficulties and trials as well as frustrations. You will feel depressed for a lot of reasons; in those times, you will come close to God and seek His help. Please remember not to allow Satan to make you relegate God to the extreme times in your lives. Instead, it will be good to remind yourselves that the extreme times are temporary and will pass away. The vast majority of your life will be spent in the ordinary and unspectacular, humdrum routine of your day-to-day practice of your profession. More importantly, remind yourselves that God assures you of His lasting faithfulness, His constant presence, whether you are on the mountaintop or in the deep valleys or just coasting along the long road across the plains in your lives as physicians.
Thank you for your kind attention.
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