Thursday, August 31, 2006

We are healed by doctors we trust

Business Times p.B3
Thursday, August 31, 2006

By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM
We are healed by doctors we trust

MY younger brother, Dr. Prof. Jess Ramos of UP Diliman, recently escaped death on the basis of trust. Late June he was diagnosed with cancer of the kidney and tumor in the colon. His right kidney, including some parts of his artery, was found diseased and only 20 percent of his left kidney was working. He was given a choice of three months to live or take a chance at surgery (he might go while under the knife or shortly thereafter or he might live a long healthy life afterwards).

We—Jess, our youngest brother Jing, myself and our mom—had several discussions. Jing wanted him to have surgery. I simply told Jess to pray hard and ask God what He intends him to do. Jess said that he feels he could trust his doctors and is willing to take the risk. He didn’t know Drs. Antonio Comia and Dennis Serrano previously.

Jess said that when he talks with them during their rounds, they seem to be very knowledgeable and genuinely caring. (Unlike one of his doctors who, one rainy day, immediately ordered a dialysis for everyone in the Infirmary Ward. If it were a joke, it was a sick one.) Two months after his surgery, Jess is recovering beautifully with one kidney intact and a clean colon. Jess is profuse with praise and gratitude for his doctors and the nursing staff at UP-PGH. Plus the moral support of relatives and his fellow faculty at UP-Diliman College of Arts & Letters, who contributed not only cash but also prayed hard in his behalf. (May I ask our pious readers to include Jess in their prayers.)

Indeed, a doctor-patient relationship stands solidly on trust. (After all it is He who heals us, but uses our doctors to do the job.) I remember a time in the past when my mother tearfully begged me to transfer her to another hospital or get another doctor because she didn’t trust her doctor. “Whenever he visits me, he greets me without looking at me; pokes at my body with his instrument; mumbles something to his assistants; writes on my chart; then leaves without saying anything to me. He is not a good doctor. I don’t feel safe with him.” Her favorites are Drs. Josie Isidro and Joey LapeƱa of UP-PGH.

Two doctors I personally trust my life are Lourdes Hospital’s Dr. Michael “Pogi” Carandang and Unciano’s Dr. Merriam Quirante.

Who is your doctor? Who is your children’s pediatrician? Why and how did you choose them from among thousands of other doctors? Charles H. Green, in his book Trust-based Selling, writes, “Most people will choose the pediatrician who seems to care as long as he or she is within an acceptable range of expertise. And, they will frequently use the word trust to describe their decision.

“The pediatrician selection process is not unlike the decision face by a corporate buyer charged with selecting a law firm, an enterprise software vendor, a reinsurance company, a construction firm, an automotive die-cast supplier, a tax accountant, an audit firm, a telecommunications network or a financial advisor.

“In such cases, trust plays a key role. Specifically, trust is used to ‘cut through’ otherwise enormously complex issues. Given the luxury of choice, such buyers strongly prefer to buy whatever it is they have to buy anyway from someone they trust.”

OK, sometimes we buy on the basis of purely technical specifications, or price or, occasionally, one seller is overwhelmingly superior in the technical realm.

Charles continues, “As buyers, we tend to give at least four levels of answers to the question of motivation in buying: the product and its characteristics or features, a solution to a problem, a good business partner and a person we can trust. The first three answers are purely rational and impersonal—and they assume a relationship with the seller that is somewhat at arm’s length. The fourth—a person we can trust—is far more powerful. This level is personal, not purely rational, complex, involved with the seller, sometimes even messy—in short, human.”

Moje is a consultant on human resource and organization development. She could be reached at

No comments: