Neri: Doctor-couples

·4 min read

Anesthesiologist Dr. Clive Fermin and Internist-Cardiologist Dr. Carolyn Kho Fermin both feel that being in the same profession has a lot of advantages. For one, they have a complete understanding of the demands of their profession. And since they are on the same wavelength, they can discuss each other’s medical cases and get a second opinion.

Doc Clive says that he chose the medical profession because he was exposed to it since childhood, his late father having been a doctor. He believes that “the most fulfilling aspect of being a doctor is knowing that you have positively touched people’s lives” and seeing the sense of gratitude and trust in the patients’ eyes “inspires you to continue being the best that you can be.”

On the other hand, Doc Caro shares that her parents encouraged her to take up medicine, and her father’s cardiac condition prompted her to become a cardiologist. When asked what is the most fulfilling part in being a doctor, she declares, “Physicians are privileged to create special relationships with patients and their families. Whether it’s out of gratitude, respect or maybe even affection, I find the dynamics of becoming an integral part of my patients’ families, both in times of good health and in death, very fulfilling.”

So far, the biggest challenge this doctor-couple has encountered in the practice of their profession is this pandemic. He says, “Never in my worst nightmares did I dream that practicing my profession can possibly end my life...” She says, “The greatest challenge by far, is this pandemic... risking my own life while saving another. And being exposed out there with my husband, I constantly worry about my kids losing one or both of us.”

For relaxation, the lady doctor does some gardening and plays with her dogs. She also exercises and lately has discovered the Korean telenovelas. As for the man of the house, he plays golf and exercises a lot. He shares: “Everyone who knows me knows that I’ve always been involved in motorsports—karting when I was younger and then circuit racing much later. I’ve met the most amazing people and some of them became my lifelong friends. When I’m strapped in a race car and my helmet visor is down, for a while I’m able to shut the world off and deal with my inner demons. It’s my therapy.”

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As medical practitioners with seven children, Dr. James Guardiario and Dr. Anabella M. Guardiario are a busy couple. He is in General Surgery with Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery as a sub specialty while she practices Internal Medicine with a sub specialization in Pulmonary Medicine. Both dedicated doctors, they form a good team because their sub specialties are related. They are in sync and totally understand each other’s work.

What gives Doc James a sense of fulfillment is the realization that he is an instrument in God’s healing power. However, there are times when he feels so powerless in the face of dying patients. He says, “I just give it my all and let God do the rest.” On her part, the lady doctor gets the most satisfaction when she sees her difficult cases being discharged from the hospital.

Talking about challenges in the practice of her profession, Doc Anabelle states, “Being able to ideally treat a patient despite lack of resources is one of the major challenges I’ve encountered in my practice. Although challenging, it’s not impossible to hurdle, because you end up giving the patient medicines, paying for their laboratory etc.” When asked how a patient’s death affects her, she declares: “I don’t think there is a doctor in this world no matter how long his practice is who won’t be affected by a patient’s death either emotionally, professionally or spiritually. So when a patient dies in spite of our best knowledge and effort, we suddenly come face to face with our own mortality... We are part of the journey of the dying patient. So James and I try our best that they receive the last Sacrament if they are Roman Catholics. As for my part, this is the best deal of being a doctor. That of being able to see death as a reality. And that there is someone up there and not the doctors who decides and says ‘Your time is done.’”

Leisure hours for the Guardiarios mean outdoor activities for the man of the house like shooting, diving and running marathons; and indoor pursuits for the lady like playing the organ, taking care of the aquarium and watching Netflix. She has joined the Plantita bandwagon and spends time in her garden nowadays. When times were better, the family traveled.

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