Imagine this: You are a doctor, constantly tired, busy, and filled to the brim with things to do. Chinese New Year just took place, and you joyfully celebrate it with your family, hoping and praying for a smooth one.
Quite suddenly, those hopes are put to a halt. A new, unknown health concern makes it way to the news. China, Italy, France, the United States… The greatest of countries one by one being humbled to their knees by a virus, an enemy you cannot even see.
Just when you thought the Philippines was fairing well, the government announces several cases in March, and the numbers just keep going higher and higher day after day. Frantic nurses are running all around you, bringing patients gasping for air to their rooms. You yourself are loaded with patients day and night. Every single day presents itself with new faces due to the fact that your old patients have passed and new ones keep coming, only to suffer an inevitable similar fate.
Doctors have been at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19. From holding places in government to working in emergency rooms, they are undeniably heroes.
The mainstream media seems to give little appreciation, however, to one group of doctors who equally deserve it as much as everyone: Chinese-Filipino doctors. They are in many different fields and are active in initiatives outside of the hospital, too. Below is just a few of them and what they do:
Dr. Reynaldo Joson (Image: Manila Doctors Hospital)
Featured in Chinoy TV’s #ChinoySpotlight last March 20, what perhaps makes Dr. Reynaldo Joson, a Manila Doctors Hospital General Surgeon, unique is that despite his increased vulnerability to the virus at 71 years old, his commitment to serve the medical community and the wider Filipino community remains as staunch as ever. From the comfort of his home, Dr. Reynaldo has provided online medical consultation through his “ROJoson Telemedical Consultation” initiative. Even though onsite classes have been postponed, learning has still prevailed online through his “Online Collaborative and Interactive Learning”, which focuses on a wide-range of topics from medicine to disaster preparedness.
Dr. Francisco Navarro (Image: Ateneo Traditional Chinese Medicine on Facebook)
“I grew up in my mother’s dental clinic and I always thought I would be a dentist. In senior year in Xavier, the Jesuit guidance counselor thought I could do more, based on my academic performance,” said Dr. Francisco Navarro, our next doctor, via email interview. This helped lead him to his practice today in Traditional Chinese Medicine. At this time of the pandemic, Dr. Navarro has patients consulting him online. A word of advice: “[T]he most important matter is for each individual [to] actively take responsibility of their health — sleep, rest, exercise, diet. My role as a doctor is to teach and guide, not to do tasks for the patients which each individual needs to do for themselves.” So, eat healthy and live healthy in order to stay well!
Dr. Edgar Eufemio (Image: Kalinga Kontra Korona on Facebook)
Last but not least, and with a heart burning to serve others, Dr. Edgar Eufemio, an orthopedist, acted when his colleagues in medicine were once in denial about the dangers of the virus. “Who do you go to first, people you only met when you were already a ‘somebody’ or the individuals you grew up with who did not care who you were or how much your parents were worth?” Indeed, this is how Kalinga Kontra Korona was born: with the help of his beloved high school classmates from Xavier School. The initiative, which has organized the donation of much-needed personal protective equipment, soon gained the formal support of the school and the San Juan City government itself. Just last May 21, the initiative turned over 1500 COVID test kits to Mayor Francis Zamora. It is likely that he didn’t know his initiative would garner such support, but what matters is he dared to go against the odds anyway.
And it is exactly in daring and trying that great things are achieved. This doesn’t in any way mean that one should just try everything that comes to mind! Of course, both the end goal and the means by which that end goal is achieved should be proper and moral.
The fact of the matter is, however, these—and countless other—Chinoy doctors have stepped up to the challenge of giving their best for the common good despite challenges. These make them unique and very worthy of our appreciation.
KKK – Kalinga Kontra Korona on Facebook
Ateneo Traditional Chinese Medicine on Facebook (Image)
Manila Doctors Hospital (Image)
About the author of this article:
Aaron is currently a Junior Multimedia Producer for CHiNOY TV. He is a constituent of the Ateneo de Manila University Chinese Studies Program, a member of the Philippine Association for Chinese Studies, and a Documentation and Publications Associate Vice President for Ateneo Celadon. He enjoys watching Chinese dramas and (occasionally) making TikTok videos!