I HATE it when patients ask me for a medical excuse to unnecessarily avoid work or some other unpleasantry of life. Whether you're the housekeeper for a children's hospital or the former president of an Asian nation, please don't ask your doctor to lie for you if you just don't want to do your job.
The economy of Guam is booming. The United States territory located so far west that it’s in the Far East, Guam is where America’s day begins. During the next 10 years, the United States military plans to spend approximately $13 billion to fortify its already massive defense infrastructure on the largest island in Micronesia.
Guam’s economy depends mainly on U.S. military spending and on tourist revenue. Each year, more than 1.1 million visitors come to Guam and boost the island’s annual gross domestic product of $4 billion. During the past 20 years, the visitor industry has grown rapidly, creating a construction boom for new hotels, golf courses and other tourist amenities built mainly by Filipino overseas workers.
When U.S. citizens on Guam get sick or want to stay healthy, many now travel to Manila to seek world-class medical care. In the last five years, I have brought both my mom and my mother-in-law to St. Luke’s Medical Center with serious cardiovascular disease. They both received outstanding medical care.
I completed my medical training at Michigan State University and at the world-famous Mayo Clinic. I have been taught to recognize and appreciate good medicine. In Manila’s finest hospitals, I believe excellent medical care is being practiced every day.
Last week, former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was arrested for alleged electoral sabotage while she was in her hospital bed at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Global City. The former president had been hospitalized for presumed bone disorder and gastrointestinal disease.
Shortly after her arrest, Arroyo’s lawyers filed for a court order to allow the former president to leave the country and go to Singapore, reportedly because her medical care was inadequate in Manila.
As past president of the Guam Medical Society, I can appreciate the sense of outrage the Philippine Medical Association must have felt when Arroyo's attorneys allegedly insisted there are no qualified doctors in the Philippines who can help the Pampanga lawmaker.
Philippine Medical Association President Dr. Leo Olarte exclaimed, "Insulto ito para sa local practitioners. Parang sinasabi nila na walang magaling na duktor sa Pilipinas," he said. "Pino-promote pa naman natin ang medical tourism.”
Indeed, why should anyone want to come to the Philippines for medical care if the past two Filipino presidents are so disparaging of Filipino doctors. Maybe we should all go to Singapore.