As you can imagine, I get a ton of e-mails, day in and day out. No day goes by that I get fewer than several dozen e-mails through this site. Some e-mails are friendly. Some are not. Some ask for assistance with things that I can help with. Other e-mails seem to ask for assistance, but I am at a loss for what I can do to help.
Last week, I got such an e-mail where the person who e-mailed me seemed to be asking for my assistance in some way, although not specifically saying how I could help.
Today, I thought I’d share the e-mail (but not using any real names), and ask you what you would do if you were in the situation. Here is what I received:
Hello, I’m a regular reader of live in the Philippines (though I don’t comment),and would like to share a story with you.
My husband is a Filipino (I am from Europe), and trained abroad as a specialized surgeon before coming back to settle in the Philippines. How naive of him to think the 15 years he spent studying medicine would enable him to make enough money to support decently his family!!!
Well, that would probably be the case if patients were fair and recognize his work. Unfortunately that’s not always the case, and today is the last straw for me.
He’s working in several hospitals, some public, some private. We both agree from the beginning that considering the income of the people going to the public hospital, his fees would be considerably lower there. In fact some families are not even able to pay for these “special” fees, and we totally accept that : that’s our way to help the less lucky people.
But today it’s a private patient (i.e. a patient going to a private hospital) who is telling him “sorry, but he doesn’t have the money to pay for the bill, thanks for the operation”.
Enough!!! How does he think my husband is paying for HIS bills? The groceries? The house rent? Even the gas for him to go to the hospital and saving his life? If you choose to go to a private hospital, can’t you think about the fees that will have to be paid? Is it unfair from my husband to ask to be paid for the hard work he is doing?
And what motivation does it give to the guys studying medicine right now? Well, only the motivation to finish their studies in some countries where they will be recognized as valuable people who deserve a salary.
My husband is more than understanding when it comes to financial problems, but people really need to learn to be a bit more responsible about their choices, and the impact it can have on their future and the future of their countries. I know this is nothing really new, but still it hurts to realize you’re taking for a complete fool.
Sorry for my rant, I feel so frustrated for my husband and my family right now, and you were the only “ears” I could express my anger to. And I thought you could help me a way or another to put things in perspective…
OK, so this fellow went to Medical School and got his license to practice medicine. Certainly, he spent a lot of time and money becoming a doctor. He offers his services at a discount to the poor (perhaps even free?). But, in this case, a person with no money checked into a private hospital, got the operation, but could not pay. What do you think?
Let me share what I think.
I feel in some ways that there is more to the story than what is being told. The number one reason I think that is because in the Philippines, usually the fee is demanded up front before something like surgery is done. Either fee up front, or in some way it must be known that the money is available.
That said, I do feel that the person who wrote this e-mail to me seems to be sincere, although very upset. I don’t think she is making up the story, she seems too sincere for that.
What should the doctor do?