“I wasn’t choosing among A, B, C, and D on a test paper anymore. I had stood between life and death, and I faltered.” In the event of an error, the only thing a writer loses is a chunk of swollen ego. But a physician’s incorrect diagnosis will always be a matter of life and death. Dr. Baticulon’s dispatches from the country’s leading public hospital are told in language that requires no further acrobatics. How do you tell a mother that the smiling ten-year-old boy in her arms will not survive the following week? How do you tell a little girl she’ll never be able to go home to play because her parents can’t afford P54,000 for her surgery? How do you live with yourself after breaking a promise to save an eight-year-old boy’s life? Like the trenches of war zones, the operating room is the frontline of life’s most difficult questions. Here are a neurosurgeon’s gripping ruminations on hope and loss. —Lourd De Veyra Ronnie Baticulon follows in the footsteps of many other physicians for whom the task of understanding and healing humanity did not stop at the clinic or the operating room. They used words and language not only for their patients but also for themselves—a long and distinguished line from Rabelais, Chekhov, and Maugham to Michael Crichton, Richard Selzer, Oliver Sacks, and of course our own Jose Rizal and Arturo Rotor. Dr. Baticulon is a worthy addition to that tradition. —Jose Y. Dalisay Jr.
1. Baticulon, Ronnie E. 2. Physicians ? Biography. 3. Physician?s writings, English.