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"Hold the physician in honour, for he is essential to you, and God it was who established his profession.” - Sirach 38:1

You can be your child’s own doctor.

You may never have gone to medical school. You may have never taken up Anatomy. You may have failed all your Science subjects in school. But when you’re a parent and your child gets sick, you can’t help but medicate. Or at least want to.

My friend, Dr. Romy Paredes, would say you can be “mukhang doktor” (look like a doctor). But you need someone to guide you as you take care of the health of your children. That is the role of a good physician.

During one of the postgraduate courses of the Department of Pediatrics of the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH), Dr. Benjamin J. Sablan, Jr., discussed the five keys that make a good physician. Using the acrostic S.A.L.T.P., here’s what I learned...


A good physician must use simple terms so parents can understand their child’s condition and decide on the management and treatment options. If possible, he must speak the dialect or use the native tongue of the parents instead of medical jargons that may confuse them more. A simple drawing or illustration will also help so that parents can visualize what is happening to their child.

Ask Questions

Parents need to find out what is wrong with their child. A good physician must never assume that the parents understand all the implications of a child’s condition. It’s important that the doctor knows what questions to ask to make sure that the parents know the strue state of their child’s health. The doctor must ask for a detailed history, including the personal, socio-economic and family aspects of the patient because these can greatly affect the medical management.

Listen Attentively

Once the right questions are asked, a good physician must listen and echo the sentiments of the parents to make sure that he gets the correct information. Oftentimes, the parents’ worst fears are never verbalized, so that the doctor must learn to read between the lines and observe their reaction to his statements.

Take Time

No matter how busy a physician is, a good one doesn’t immediately leave until the parents or caregivers are able to establish a connection with the sick child. He must spend time to explain to the parents that the child’s improvement and recovery will involve their presence and participation. He must encourage both parents to look, touch, speak and listen to their baby.


A good physician must never be short for words when it comes to recognizing the efforts of the parents. Simple words of praise and thanks for their continuous involvement will go a long way in encouraging them.

May the words below be every good doctor’s prayer as he performs his greatest calling. A PHYSICIAN'S PRAYER

Dear God, You are the Great Physician, Every life comes from You; Make me Your instrument of healing, As I surrender my calling to You. Grant me the wisdom To arrive at a correct diagnosis; Give me the skills So I can do no harm. Remove the blinders from my eyes To see what ails my patients; Uncover my ears To listen to their complaints. Open my heart To feel their suffering; Let my touch Ease their pain.

Send your mighty angels To watch over my patients; And guide them on their way home, Fully recovered from their illness. With a humble heart, Oh Lord, May I do acts of charity, And serve your needy people, Even without compensation. When I'm tired and downtrodden, Or simply heartbroken from a fall; Give me the strength and the grace To find my own healing. May I be the salt of the earth And the light of the world; So others may see

The face of Jesus Christ in me.

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