Medicine Gone Wrong: Who is to Blame?

The news is spreading - a young woman diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma (a type of cancer involving the lymphatic tissues) succumbs to the said disease. A loss of not only a family, but a loss of mankind. An achiever (cum laude), she could've been the next best news anchor, or one of the most famous writers the world has had. However, due to medicine gone wrong, we just lost that star. And that star, is Kate Tan.

Practice of medicine is a very complex process - you go to school for 5 years to prepare yourself to the practice, pass the board examinations, go to residency, attend additional continuing education to specialize, and go to seminars to continually update yourself with the latest innovations. In order to provide safe care to patients, you have to take all these steps. It's not an overnight course, you can't learn it with a shortcut. 


And because of that, some wanted the "easy way" - pretending to be one. And yeah, they are ready to kill.

Kate was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma on 2009, still on her Communications course. Young, she was already subject to a huge challenge, but she battled it out. As a treatment for the said disease, she was put under chemotherapy.

"Patients with localized Hodgkin's disease are cured >90% of the time... Increasingly, patients with all stages of Hodgkin's disease are treated initially with chemotherapy.*"

She was declared cancer-free in 2011 and continued her studies. Unfortunately, in 2012, Kate and her family were informed that the cancer is back. Desperate for treatment, her case was presented to a "doctor" named Antonia Park, who owns a wellness center in the country. The "doctor" took in the case, and subjected her to stem cell therapy, which is a treatment regimen currently still under study in treating the said disease. Moreover, this Antonia Park claims that the former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has been under her care, in addition to one public figure. Reports say that she also claims that she has treated one of her children who has lupus. Story-wise, you would think that you just hit the jackpot in consulting this "doctor." "Doctor", because Antonia Park is not licensed to practice Medicine here in the Philippines.

She was told not to take any "Western" medicine. No drugs, no radiotherapy, whatsoever. She was subjected to a fruit-and-vegetable diet. A management done one time, another next time. Like a lab rat, Kate was deprived of of an "established treatment regimen", while she was subjected to a treatment still in debate.

Kate Tan graduated with honors, with a degree in Communications, on the year 2013. She died months later. Western medicine tried to treat her once more, but she was unable to make it. A star fell down the sky.

With this, I ask you, my dear readers, who is to blame?

Is it the "doctor" who took care of Kate Tan, who claims she has treated others using the method that she does? It's for you to judge. In the end, why was a non-licensed doctor able to practice medicine here in the Philippines undetected? Why does "quackery" still exist here in the Philippines, and how come these "quacks" are not discovered earlier than expected?

How many innocent lives do we need to lose to eradicate this kind of faulty practice?

Kate, this is for you, and also to the cancer warriors out there.

(* Longo, et al., Harrison's Internal Medicine, 18th Edition)

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