Tuob, yes; #NoToDoctorShaming, no.

TO THE QUICK - Jerry Tundag (The Freeman) - June 29, 2020 - 12:00am

As a young boy growing up in the early 1960s, a doctor was one of my most hated persons. No trip to a doctor's clinic ended without a needle being jabbed into my arm or some cheeky part of my behind. To avoid going to the doctor, you put chewed guava leaves on wounds, or sand, yes sand, if the bleeding was really bad. You try not to show a limp if you fall because you get a parental whack first before getting taken to the doctor.

 But because you have to pay for the doctor, parents tried to make do first with traditional means of dealing with health situations. If there was cough or colds, there was "tuob," or steam inhalation. If there were loose teeth, there were strings to pull them out with. If there was some sprain, there was the "manghihilot," coconut oil, and some aromatic leaves. If there was "pasmo", in went the cause of the "pasmo" to the "tuob." Often it was ice cream.

But times change and so do understanding and perspectives. While I continue to believe in "tuob" and actually applied it a few times on my own daughters when they were small, the doctor is now the best option for health concerns. In fact, because it is to the doctor that you entrust your life, I now consider him as, next only to a priest, the closest thing there is to God.

And that is it. A doctor is not God and therefore not perfect. He is still a human being who can have shortcomings. Human history is soiled by sordid accounts of doctors who became hideous criminals. And that is why I cannot go along with the #NoToDoctorShaming initiative because in my simple understanding of English, it seems to imply that you cannot shame doctors simply because they are doctors.

To me, professions only exalt a person but it is character that defines him. If they change it to just #NoToShaming, then I can go along with it. It is not good to shame anyone, regardless of whether he is a doctor or not. Shame does not need to be escorted to a seat. If it wants to sit it will pull the chair from under your bottom.

Governor Gwen erred in shaming the two doctors who publicly criticized a Capitol memo telling employees to try "tuob" as a means to alleviate breathing difficulties. She should have realized that the two doctors already shamed themselves by going public with their emotions when the decent, professional, and appropriate thing to do would have been to call Gwen and tell her that "tuob" was not a recommended medical practice.

I am tempted to tell Gwen to try and mellow down a bit and take criticisms more gracefully, but this unsolicited advice is best reserved for some other time. In this particular case, let me just say that a woman cannot tell another woman "nga ka maayo ra nimong sagpaon or sunogon" and not expect a violent response. I think Gwen just gave the doctor a tit for her tat.

So again, I will go along with the initiative if it is just #NoToShaming without the word doctor in it, or any other profession or title for that matter as a qualifier. It is not good to shame or be shamed. And in this sorry episode, it is all of us Cebuanos who have been shamed, first for getting distracted from the real fight against the coronavirus and, second, for taking sides without putting all of the facts dispassionately into context.

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