the online newsletter issue no. ii
words from the president Hello to all PMSA members! I hope you were all able to enjoy the different projects our different committees had worked on for you guys from the month of July to August! These months were truly directed to your discernment process of wanting to become medical professionals or not, and we do hope that it truly helped you in finding your place here in our context right now. Our organization believes that it is necessary to aid those people in a state of dilemma, thus the provision of the Medical Discernment Talk Part 1 catering to minds of those that aren’t fixed on the idea of them being in a medical seat. Afterwards, we directed ourselves in helping out the people outside of the organization through the, inside and outside of the LS community, through initiatives such as the First Aid Training, the Health Tidbits, and the Bloodletting Activity respectively. I really hope that you all had the opportunity to experience these different events that had already come to pass in the span of 3 months, to further realize who you are and what you really want to be in the future, because I believe that each and every one of you should be able to, at least, start realizing this, as early as now. I don’t want you all to regret the choices that you have made simply because you weren’t able to have a grasp of what the essence of these things, and, thus, we, the PMSA, would like to venture out on a journey along with the rest of you through your experiences as a student here in the Ateneo. Feel free to participate and to get involved in all the other future events we have in store for all of you guys, and, of course, to enjoy your stay here in the PMSA!
Kurt Bry Tolentino President
the pre- medic al socie t y of the ateneo
gr aphic design by k a zuki yamada
brought to you by:
on making the choice: to be or not to be jeanne claudeen arona
iii bs life sciences
One of the toughest, if not the most difficult, questions a college student has to address is ‘What’s next after college?’ Perhaps, this will definitely apply for those on their senior year, well, for magis students, come junior year. Yet for those undergraduate students taking up pre-med courses, the question probes in deeper: ‘Does med school come next, after college?’ This discernment period goes on in the entire four-year (five for some) journey during their university life, trying to figure out all along if studying medicine is the right turn. Last August 02 2013, the Pre-Medical Society of the Ateneo (PMSA), in partnership with the Biology Organization (Box), Psyche, and Health Sciences Society (HSS), held “The Choice”, a medical discernment talk for aspiring medical students. This was to present an avenue wherein pre-med students would be able to view medicine from first-hand experiences. Held at Sec B 201, the event began at 04:39pm with Karl Duque of the Health Sciences Society for the opening prayer. It was followed by the opening remarks from the president of the PMSA, Kurt Tolentino. › pg. 6
on making the choice: to be or not to be First among the speakers was Dr. Jose Bernardo Gochoco, an OB-GYN but is currently a manager of PCSO, who used to speak to public health workers. In his talk, he began by asking, ‘What does it take to be a doctor? ‘. As a graduate of UERM, who then took his residency at UP PGH, Dr. Gochoco spoke of medicine as a noble profession. “In the Philippines, those who had the means go abroad after studies. During 2000s, doctors became nursing students, and then likewise go abroad. In fact, there was a time when nursing schools gave scholarships to doctors. Every person in this room has a potential to become a doctor, but how many will go abroad?” said Dr. Gochoco. Medicine is a life science, quoting him, that is constantly changing. As a government physician, Dr. Gochoco is practicing a management career where he deals with institutional and individual charities. Being exposed to how the government addresses the current situation of health in the country, he noted, “Now is the time to start thinking if you would like to become a doctor. We need more doctors; there is not enough that the government is doing now.” There is a great difference between studying medicine then and now, considering the great impact of technology, yet some things remain the same: it will keep you awake at night to study, will make you hungry most of the time, will give you pimples (particularly if you are allergic to formalin). Medicine, according to Dr. Gochoco, is for you, “kung talagang desidido ka, yun ang bokasyon mo, talagang mamahalin mo. Taking medicine is something that you can help our country and our people with.”
mentors.” Fourth was thinking “Medicine is the hospital, health is the hospital” - now, in the 21st century, what is needed are doctors who have the ability to transform the society. Every patient that you heal, you affect the family, the society. “If I’ll study so hard, I’ll save my patients” was the fifth on the list. It’s actually the human interaction that heals the patients. Doctors with the sincerity, with the certain aura, are what can heal patients. As Dr. Lim stated, “there must be a sincere effort in your heart that you want to heal the patient.” Number six is seeing oneself as the team leader. Truth is, medicine is dynamic, it changes, so never have the thinking that you are the messiah. Seventh myth: coffee is the only way to wake up. Dr Lim said that there’s none that he could remember for what is the toughest part of med school, because it was fun. What keeps you awake is more on involving yourself in organizations and talking to the patients. Think ‘aaralin ko ‘to kasi someday magagamit ko ito, or at least improve somebody’s condition.’ Eight on the list was “tiisin ko nalang kasi matatapos din ito” - you have to keep on studying, it never stops. “Poor patients are referrals from God, sent so as you can learn something, it need not be medical, but at least something personal,” said Dr. Lim. Ninth was saying, ‘ang hirap ng med’, which is more exciting than fearful for him, “Embrace it. If you fail, edi tawa.” He leaves the tenth one blank, ending with “There will be more misconceptions about it, but you yourself will definitely debunk it.” An open forum comprised the second part of the event. The following were some of the questions raised:
Ms. Lui Encarnacion, a fresh graduate of the Ateneo de Manila University (BS Psychology 2013) was the second speaker. Currently studying at the UST Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, Ms. Encarnacion spoke of her experiences given the past few months of the school year. Quoting her classmates, their initial advice was “Don’t go to medschool, it’s a trap.” Ms. Encarnacion’s routine consisted of waking up at 6am for 7am to 11am class, with quiz during the allotted one hour break, followed by a four-hour lecture, then studying from 6pm up to 3 o’clock in the morning the following day. “In medschool, you realize that you are an idiot, no matter how smart you are in college, you’ll fail in medschool... Tuloy-tuloy na aral... you have to maximize the little time that you have for yourself, for your friends, for your family”, said Ms. Encarnacion. This is actually the time when the parents would say, “don’t study too much, relax lang.” Yet regardless of all that, to take up medicine is to ask beforehand ‘what keeps you going?’ One has to find the motivation, for ‘Dreams don’t work unless you do.’ She gave several tips, such as doing your best “because your patients deserve the best in the future”, and having a support group. Being in medschool is fulfilling for her because you learn a lot of things, new and interesting stuff every day. Ending her talk, she said, “Is med school for you? You won’t really be sure. Are you strong enough for it? Can you handle the pressure? You have to want it, not your parents, not your friends... Do you want it more than anything? You have to find your reason and purpose; you would have a hard time if you’re wanting it for the wrong reason... Med is not for the faint-hearted. Med is for those who are bold enough to make the leap of faith, those who dare to take the risk, you just have to trust that somehow things will fall in their right place... quoting Fr. Ferriols, “Lundagin mo beybe”.” The last speaker was Dr. Bryan Albert Lim, a doctor of the Philippine General Hospital and a major proponent of PGH Department of Internal Medicine’s study group on Universal Healthcare. In his talk he gave a list consisting of the Top 10 Misconceptions about med school. First was “Magdodoktor ako dahil it’s glamorous (read: Grey’s Anatomy)”. Medicine is hard work, it’s hard work that doctors do, it’s hard work that they love. Dr Lim said, “There are actually reasons that would make you stay.” Second, it’s because of the coat. Society expects of doctors to be rich, which is wrong. “Libu-libo ang pasyente sa PGH, it takes quite a time to earn,” noted Dr. Lim, “There are rewards in medicine that can never be repaid by any amount of money, even the little rewards... more so when you work with the poor. It takes a certain insanity to stay in this country.” Third misconception was “Wala na akong life”. Bordering between truth and misconception, it’s more on the misconception side in reality: “Humility is the first thing you will learn in medschool, ‘we are human beings’ the first thing you should learn. Humanity. Humility. Walang pasyenteng magtatanong kung anong score mo sa exam... It’s so easy to be inside the box in medicine, but later on, when it is a routine, study smart and not study hard. Also, learn to look for your
Question: How difficult was it adjusting to medschool? Ms. Encarnacion: In your first few weeks, they will make sure that you know the basics. BS Psychology has g iven me the basics that I need. Question: Advice for Med school applications? Ms. Encarnacion: Walang interview sa UST, pero factor pa rin yung religion mo. You just have to take an entrance test. Dr. Lim: Apply to ASMPH, they have a good curriculum Question: Dr. Lim:
(On being an oncologist) You are able to look them in the eye, and that makes them feel more compassion... The experience of being a cancer patient is worse for those who are around them, hugging a person who you know would die...
Question: (On influences, a person that inspires you) Dr. Lim: It was a nurse that inspired me, I was operated when i was eight years old. I celebrated my birthday in a hospital, where the nurses did everything to make me feel okay. They did something that changed my life, and I wanted to do the same for others. Ms. Encarnacion: Not to be a doctor really, but to be of service to others. I wanted to be a yaya then, she would do things to make other people’s lives more comfortable, to at least help them. My mom had cancer when I was in high school, so I really have a soft spot for cancer. The event ended at 05:54pm with the awarding of the certificates of appreciation, headed by Kurt Tolentino. It was truly a job well done for the organizers who aimed to give off a spark and help pre-med students in their discernment, for the speakers lit up that spark, and ignited the desire to genuinely become persons-for-others. To be or not to be med-student, to be or not to be a person for others: the question was left unanswered, because the choice is yet to be made. ■
who knew little things could result in even bigger things? marie therese romero, ii bs psychology
“It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important”. This insightful quote from Arthur Conan Boyle, the author of the famous Sherlock Holmes, expresses that big things can come or result from even the littlest things. With this, the quote reminds us to appreciate and enjoy the little things and simple pleasures in life. It is important to value these small things because these little things, though at times often negligible and overlooked by many, might even bring the greatest impact and change in our lives and the lives of others. For this reason, PMSA’S way of helping people by soliciting monetary and medicines donation will surely give affect the lives of many as people would be receiving good health care services that they deserve. From August 13-16 2013, apart from the big bloodletting event, PMSA had its first wave of Medicine Drive for the semester. In this four-day event, a lot of fun, interactive and charitable activities for a cause were served for the Ateneo students and the rest of the community. In this MedDrive event, the organization solicited monetary and medicine donation from its members, other Ateneo students, and the rest of the community. The organization solicited money through interactive activities such as mini games to make the event appealing and interesting, so that students would get even more encouraged to donate. Moreover, incentives of plus points were also given to its members so that they would be much more motivated to donate. All the money and medicines gathered from this event will be spent or used for PMSA’S first medical mission in GK Rover-Cox located in Payatas. In addition, part of the donations also went to those who were affected by the It is important to value these small recent Habagat Maring. these little things, though at times
things because often negligible and overlooked by many, might even bring the greatest impact and change in our lives and the lives of others.
During the weeklong event, the Med Drive was gathered with eager and excited students who were willing to donate their own money and medicine to the organization. Despite the bloodletting, which attracted a lot of students, going on just right beside it, the Med Drive did not run out of students who were generous and very much willing to donate an amount of money. In fact, the MedDrive constantly drew in students because there were some that were hesitant to
donate blood; these students just donated money and medicines to still show their support for the events of PMSA. Seeing those students happily reaching out for their pocket to donate money gave me a sense of joy and light-heartedness because they voluntarily gave portion of their money to the organization; the money they have given could have been used to buy other things that they need if one would were not to be generous enough. In fact, not only were some students donating an affordable amount, which they could just easily cash out, but, rather, they were not hesitant to hand out bigger sums that practically cost a weeklong’s allowance. What made it even more surprising was that the students who were donating this much still had a smile on their faces as they were giving this sizable amount of money to the PMSA members. With this, it only goes to show that there are still some people who would go beyond their limits and sacrifice something significant, only knowing that, by doing so, they would be able to help a lot of people and make a big difference in their lives. Consequently, not only would PMSA’S medicine drive directly affect the lives of those considered to be less fortunate, but it was also able to shed light on the big hearts and generosity of students, which may not be that obvious.
After attending covering this event, it made me realize that as I would, hopefully, become a doctor in the future, the little things I will do for the patient such as prescribing them with the proper medication, stitching up their open wounds, and injecting them with important vaccines for protection will definitely bring about significant effects to their well-being. With these little things, I could help them heal, ease their pain, and protect their bodies from future health problems. For this reason, it is important to remember that the little things do matter a lot because these things can possibly bring about the biggest changes and differences in our lives and the lives of others. ■
give life, feel life immanuel christian e. cabello
iii bs management engineering
Happy, excited, nervous, scared – these were the common emotions I observed as volunteers (or Warm Bloodies as you may call it) lined up for the first part of PMSA’s weeklong bloodletting event last August 14-16, at the Social Sciences Foyer. It was as simple as any event could get, yet it was dedicated for a good cause: half of the blood donated would go to the Philippine Children’s Medical Center and the other half to those in need in the Ateneo community. But from the perspective of a first-time volunteer, something as serious as donating blood surely raises some questions into mind. One of which is, “what good does giving my blood do for me?” True enough, giving blood has benefits for the donor as well: it improves heart health, reduces cancer risk, burns calories, and enhances blood production, among many others. In other words, giving blood doesn’t only make you feel like a better person on the inside, but it makes you a better person on the outside as well. On the question of safety, trained and certified professionals from One Drop, One Hope handled the bloodletting process. Surely people had nothing to fear for themselves in becoming a Warm Bloody. The whole bloodletting process is composed of three events: a preliminary Check-up, a “mini” Blood Test, and the bloodletting itself. First, a volunteer is given a preliminary check-up to see if he is healthy enough to donate blood on that day. Vital signs are obtained such as heart rate, blood pressure, weight, and body temperature. If the donor passes, he or she moves on to have his or her blood tested. A small sample is obtained and is run through series of small tests to ensure if the blood is healthy enough to be collected. In fact, this is also one of the benefits of being a donor because, with the free test, one gets to know, beforehand, if any diseases or conditions exist with his or her blood. If the donor manages to pass both tests, then he or she is sent for the bloodletting procedure. Despite the initial success of the event on the first day, an issue surfaced regarding the venue of the bloodletting. The Loyola Schools of Health and Services pointed out that an open environment such as the foyer is not conducive for a bloodletting activity because the blood may get exposed to open air, which leads to contamination. The organizers, after following further instructions, transferred bloodletting operations inside the LSHS infirmary for the second and third day. The preliminary checkup and blood sampling still remained in the Social Sciences Foyer. When I went to the event on its second day, there were roughly less than ten people lined up for the registration, and most of them were Pre-Med students. The check-up and blood sampling station were still there while most of the bloodletting equipment were transferred into the infirmary, leaving only the materials such as hemoglobinometer, test tubes, and the likes. The waiting lines for the checkup and blood sampling seemed to take a while even if there were only a handful of people there. Nonetheless, the whole event went smoothly and most if not all volunteers got to donate their blood. In a span of three days, I’ve managed to learn a few things from this event. For one, I learned that one doesn’t have to be a doctor or belong to a pre-med course to be able to save another life. The simple act of donating one’s own blood for the benefit of those in need goes a long way already. One freshman donor I interviewed said she would promote the event to her fellow blockmates and friends because it was for a good cause – help in saving lives. Another thing I learned was that, from the perspective of a business student, I can make use of my skills and knowledge to make the processes and procedures in the medical field more efficient and optimal – just by studying the whole process of bloodletting, I can treat the whole process as if it were a business and use my skills help contribute to a better flow of operations and lessen the wasted time. In the end, one nugget of wisdom I can bring from covering this event is that donating blood makes one feel more alive in the sense that one becomes more human when he or she gives. This is also why I believe it was also no coincidence that this year’s bloodletting event was based on the movie Warm Bodies (where a zombie felt alive because it felt that it can relate to a human) because, in giving, we go beyond, cease living for ourselves alone, and begin to live for others as well. To give a part of our lives to others is to know, and to feel what it means to live. ■
it‘s all in our blood mi che a s el ij a h t. taguib ulos , iii b s l ife s cien ce s
In line with the one week-long Bloodletting, Warm Bloodies, hosted by the Pre-Medical Society of the Ateneo in partnership with One Drop One Hope, an informative talk about the purpose and significance of the event, some facts about the human blood, and the act of bloodletting was held last August 15, 2013, in the Sec C Lecture Hall; originally, it was supposed to be held on the twelfth of August, but, due to the suspension of classes brought about by inclement weather, it has been moved to the fifteenth. There were two speakers for this event: Ms. Elaine Urgel, a representative of One drop One Hope, and Dr. Raphael Marfori, a professor from the Biology Department of the Ateneo. The first half of the whole talk was done by Miss Elaine and she dedicated it to discuss the specific details that are concerned with the bloodletting project such as the benefactors, the aim of One Drop One Hope, the qualifications for blood donation, and the benefits implied by donating one’s blood. Miss Elaine was a former nurse before she became part of One Drop One Hope. The benefactors of One Drop One Hope are the cancer and the hematology patients, most of which are kids, and the group’s aim is to provide blood for those in need, free of charge, since it was given voluntarily; each free pack of blood given would spare the patients and their family from spending a worth of P 1,600. Furthermore, one simple donation is worth P 3000 of blood, which, of course, spells out a big difference for those who are in need of it. However, as much as One Drop One Hope would want more donors, there were certain qualifications (a.k.a. “The 5 Blood Donation Commandments”) that a volunteer must meet: (1) No smoking four hours prior to the donation, (2) No drinking of alcoholic beverages twenty four hours prior to the donation, (3) jam-pack one’s self with food prior to the donation, (4) get, at least, six hours of sleep the night before the donation, (5) consider yourself a hero because you have saved a kid’s life. Towards the end of her discussion, she also pointed out some benefits that the donor gains from the act of donating his/her blood: you get a free check-up such as hemoglobin count and some even get to overcome their fear of needles, especially that the one involved in this donation is considered to be one of, if not the biggest needle available (size of a zesto straw). She, then, concluded that the, more or less, thirty minutes of time the donor allots is a very important, priceless, gift to the kids.
The second half of the talk, on the other hand, facilitated by Dr. Marfori, as he is part of the faculty of the Biology Department of the Ateneo, went on with a biological and technical approach about blood. He started off by asking what causes the color of our skin when we blush, and the color of our stool and urine. Surprisingly, or not, it is our blood. Since he was also once a pre-medical student, Dr. Marfori even shared his experience from when he was still an intern, and, of course, it still was related to blood: blood is considered very precious, so much so that there is a strict system that involves control, screening, monitoring, refrigerating, and thawing. Blood is precious and donating blood is still donating a part of your body. Some would say that “time is important”, that “time is gold”, but, one could also say that “time is blood,” at least according to him. After all, the flow of blood determines the timeframe; the running of blood is what determines life and death. He goes on with one trivia about blood after another such as seven per cent of our body weight is the blood we have, and that one drop of blood equates to two hundred sixty million red blood cells, which is equivalent to twenty eight hexillion oxygen atoms. He also stated that the blood cells are, without a doubt, intelligent and inimitable. Some of the reasons presented were that they know when to give up and when to take up oxygen, and that they know which is damaged and, therefore, in need of patching up; we don’t need to think for our blood cells to perform their functions. There were so much more information regarding the blood, some interesting and some were new, but he chose to end with this: our blood can perform a lot of functions that we’ve definitely got what it takes to donate, at least, biologically speaking and not taking any special conditions into account – the question lies more on having what it takes as a human being. ■
ready, set... save! k aelyn yo gyo g
i bs he alth science s
Saving lives. How do they make it look so easy yet at the same time, nerve wracking? What would you do if, by a certain twist of fate (or an equal amount of “Tough luck”), you are faced with a scenario wherein you have to save someone, but don’t know how? Working in the medical field is tough, especially since it involves holding someone’s life with your very own hands. As future doctors and Health practitioners, it is essential for us to learn, firsthand, the basics of saving a life through means of applying First Aid. The Pre-Medical Society of the Ateneo (PMSA), together with The Philippine Red Cross (National Chapter), offered a First Aid Training (FAT) Seminar and Workshop to its members and non-members alike. It was held last August 25-26 at CTC 118. Originally, only twenty slots were made available to the members and ten for Non-members, but, since only a few non-members were interested to participate, the latter’s remaining slots were then opened to the members. The 2-day event was composed of a ten-module seminar and hands on training on administering Rescue Breaths and CPR. On the first day, we had a seminar on the different kinds of Life Support, giving emphasis on what we were supposed to learn, which is Basic Life Support. The speakers for the 2 days of seminar were all Red Cross volunteers, namely Kuya Kenneth Laureano, Ms. Maricar Silan, Ms. Bernadette Nicolas, and Kuya Jaylord Abrigado. A step-by-step procedure on what to do upon seeing a victim who lays unconscious was discussed during the seminar. It was soon followed by a demonstration of the Heimlich maneuver (done to choking victims), proper counting when giving Rescue Breaths, and administering of CPR. In the afternoon, a written and practical test was given for the day’s demonstrations and lectures. Most of us, the participants were anxious, for none of us expected it. The following day, the participants were then instructed proper bandaging techniques, introduced to the different kinds of injuries and correct Patient Casualty handling . The FAT for me was a great experience. Not only did it provide me with adequate life saving techniques, but it was also a chance for me to interact with both the PMSA and Non-PMSA members. Overall, the seminar and workshop was very enriching; although the time allotted seemed inadequate (judging by the numerous skipped slides in their power point presentation), I was still able to learn a lot. What the program has taught us is very useful, especially in emergency situations. It is also what you can consider as a “taste” of what our lives may be after graduating from Medical school. I have also come to realize that, when it comes to emergencies, just by being a student you can do a lot more than just stand and watch. You can actually be the one to save a life. Having this experience made me see how nerve wracking a doctor’s job may be, even just through the eyes of a First Aider. It was kind of scary at first, but, then, I was able to see that what matters the most, basically, is that you don’t lose your cool and be relaxed but alert at the same time, because the nervousness might kill you and the person you are trying to save. This seminar and workshop made me anticipate that becoming a doctor is, definitely, not an easy ride; you have to make a lot of calls necessary for your patient and that every second counts. ■