19th Dean Lauro H. Panganiban Memorial Lecture


When I was requested to deliver the 19th Dean Lauro H. Panganiban Memorial Lecture, I gladly accepted. I knew Dean Panganiban very well and his great accomplishments and valuable contribution to Philippine Medicine. I wish also for all of us who have a sense of belonging to our Institute of Medicine , the faculty, students, alumni, employees and the trustees, to take a second look, on how our medical school began, what it is today, what is expected of its future. This we have not done in forty-four (44) years.

In the words of Winston Churchill, "the longer you look back to the past, the further you look forward to the future." Together with Dr. Panganiban, I was deeply involved in the planning, organization, the setting up of physical plant and facilities of our medical school. My having joined Far Eastern University may be considered coincidental but to me it was providential.

I First met Dean Panganiban during the battle for the Liberation of Manila by the American forces. Dr. Panganiban was brought to me in severe pain by a young physician. Dr. Jalbuena, now a noted Ophthalmologist, accompanied by Dr. Panganiban's teenage charming daughter Pacita, now Mrs. DeMayer, and his brother-in-law Johnny Mendoza at the South PCAU U.S. Army hospital where I was Director and Chief Surgeon. They were looking for either Dr. Nicanor Jacinto or Dr. Januario Estrada, the two leading Filipino surgeons. When they failed to find either one. Dr. Jalbuena informed them that I was the surgical assistant of both. After examining. Dr. Panganiban,

I informed him that while he could temporarily be relieved of his pain, only surgery could do it permanently. I could not accede to his request that I operate on him right away because of the many serious patients awaiting emergency surgery that day. I told him that the earliest I could do it would be early the following morning at the only still open hospital in Greater Manila, the Hospital Espanol de Santiago. You may be interested to know that among those needing emergency surgery that day were Charing Carlos who was later married to Oscar Africa , brother of Dr. Luz Juliano. She sustained a penetrating bayonet wound in the chest. Her sister Acela who was with her was killed. Another was the infant granddaughter of Senator Camilo Osias, whose mother is Becky, host of a religious television program, with a sharpnel open wound exposing the lung with fractured ribs. A third was the teenage heiress of the Soriano's of San Miguel Corporation with a shattered leg caused by a machine gun bullet. She underwent disarticulation of the leg.

The next day Don ANORES Soriano, the founder of San Miguel Corporation, in U.S. Army Colonel uniform, brought her to John Hopkins Hospital where the stump of her disarticulated leg was reshaped for prosthesis. With God's help or was it God's own doing, all are living and well. We are fortunate that our hospital was well supplied with antibiotics, antitetanus and anti-gas gangrene sera, blood, surgical instruments, and other life saving remedies by the U.S. Army. When I was administering spinal anesthesia on Dr. Panganiban he uttered words which were medical terms. I asked him if he was a physician. He answered "Yes, U.P. 1925." I apologized for not having acceded to his request to be operated the previous day. He assuaged my feelings by saying he understood when he saw many seriously injured patients who needed emergency surgery. Months after Manila was liberated, a young surgeon referred to me a lady from whose breast he removed a mass which turned out to be malignant on biopsy. I had to do a radical mastectomy on her. She was the wife of the President of Far Eastern University, Dr. Clemente Uson. I was invited by Dr. Panganiban one morning to President Uson's office. President Uson and Dr. Panganiban asked me if I would be willing to accept a part-time position at the University Clinic. I gladly accepted since I was then part-time Chief of Clinics and Consulting Surgeon of North General Hospital and Assistant Professor of Surgery of U.S.T. which are both near FEU.

I did not think then that I would be spending the best years of my professional life at Far Eastern University and the FEU-NRMF. My association with Dean Panganiban was very fulfilling and rewarding. He was the ideal dean worth emulating. He was brilliant but unassuming, compassionate and highly principled, a gentleman of the old school. He topped the medical board examination, was first in his class at the University of the Philippines , a former Professor of Pharmacology at the U.P. College of Medicine, recipient of the Most Distinguished Alumnus Award of the U.P. College of Medicine . As dean he was well loved by the students, highly respected by the faculty and the employees of our medical school. When he became member of the Board of Trustees of Far Eastern University, his wish was to transform into reality the desire of Dr. Nicanor Reyes, Sr., the Founder and First President of Far Eastern University, of having a high standard medical school with a teaching hospital within the university complex. With the help of Don Jose Cojuangco, Sr., who was Chairman of the Board of Trustees, and Dr. Nicanor Reyes, Jr. who was then Executive Vice-President later President, the FEU Board of Trustees unanimously approved the establishment of the Institute of Medicine and its teaching hospital in 1952. The Institute was opened in 1952 and the hospital after construction in 1955. Don Pepe and Noring, whom we fondly called, were very supportive of the Institute and hospital.

Dean Panganiban laid the strong foundation of our medical school by attracting one of the best faculties composed of the most competent medical educators, and by implementing a policy of selective admission and retention of students, thus ensuring a student body well prepared to study medicine and to become competent physicians. Among the competent medical educators he attracted to join the first faculty of our Institute of Medicine were former chairmen of academic departments and ranking professors of the U.P. College of Medicine and of leading medical centers. They were the first chairmen of our ,. , , (Refer to annex on pictures academic departments, among them: of first Academic Chairmen) In the basic sciences Dr. Daniel dela Paz for Pharmacology, Dr. Liborio Gornez for Pathology, Dionisio llagan for Microbiology, Dr. Jesus Nolasco for Physiology, Dr. Domingo Ampil for Anatomy, Dr. Serafin Juliano for Parasitology, Dr. Jose Novato for Biochemistry. For the clinical departments: Drs. Perpetuo Gutierrez and Jose R. Cruz, for Medicine, Dr. Gloria Aragon for Ob-Gyn, Dr. Fe del Mundo for Pediatrics, Dr. Ricardo Alfonso for Surgery, Dr. Pedro Ramirez and Dr. Julian Mendoza for Urology, Dr. Benjamin Tamesis and Bing Aguilar for Orthopedic Surgery, Dr. Carlos Sevilla and Dr. Jesus Tamesis for EENT, Drs. Bienvenieto Dino and Teodoro Luna for Plastic Recontructive Surgery, Dr. Teodoro Nuguid for Colo-Rectal Surgery, Dr. Francisco Guzman for General Surgery, Dr. Enrique Garcia for Thoracic Surgery, Dr. Romeo Gustilo for Neurosurgery. It must have been the high regard and confidence for Dean Panganiban and for Far Eastern University that made these prestigious medical educators join the First faculty of our newly established Institute of Medicine . Our first faculty were ably supported by a younger qualified group most of whom were trained in U.S. Medical Centers. When the first Chairmen of the academic departments retired, our graduates all of whom have postgraduate training in well known medical centers abroad and who rose from the faculty ranks, took over. Almost all of our academic departments are today chaired by alumni.

They are as competent as their predecessors and enjoy the high regard of their peers. It is interesting to note that four of our faculty became Secretary of Health, Regino Padua, Clement Gatmaitan, Jesus Azurin and Enrique Garcia. Seven became presidents of the Philippine Medical Association of whom one, Jesus Tamesis was also President of the World Medical Association and another, Fe del Mundo was President of the Medical World Women Association. Six became president of the Philippine College of Surgeons, two of whom are our alumni, Leonardo Ona,who is now Chairman of Surgery, and Merlin Cipriano, now our ranking professor of Surgery. Many were President of their specialty societies, one our alumnus, Lilia Luna, our present hospital director and ranking professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The Institute Of Medicine from 1952 to 1972 occupied the 3rd to the TTH floor of the science building of the university. The construction of the main hospital building was completed in 1955 and the hospital was opened for service in the same year.

An annex 2/3 the size of the main, was added to the hospital building in 1957 allowing it to provide more teaching beds and modern diagnostic and therapeutic facilities. Many of our graduates have spent sweet and bitter days in these buildings after the semestral and final examinations, which are today only pleasant nostalgic memories. By this time the teaching beds of the FEU Hospital were more than three times the government minimum requirement for medical schools. Still Dean Panganiban saw to it that the number of patients made available to FEU students were increased for study and exposure to more variety of cases.

This was done through affiliation with nearby government and private medical centers. Among these were the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center , the St. Luke Medical Center, the Veterans Memorial Hospital , the Rizal Medical Center , the V. Luna Medical Center , the San Lazaro Hospital, the National Orthopedic Hospital, the Manila Sanitarium Hospital , The U.S. dark Air Base Hospital , the U.S. Subic Naval Air Base Hospital and the Children's Memorial Medical Center . To have succeeded in getting the affiliation of these eleven leading medical centers almost at the same time, again shows the high regard these centers had for Dean Panganiban and for Far Eastern University, and his deep concern for the education of medical students. Most of these hospital affiliations continue today. In 1957, the first class of the Institute graduated. Since then its graduates have topped or placed in the top 10 positions in the Medical Board examinations, with a passing average always far above the national. These graduates have worked their way to important staff, research and teaching positions, not only in our country, but also abroad including the United States , Canada and Europe . (REFER TO ANMRX FEU BOARD TOPNOTCHERS STATISTICS)

FEU medical graduates were among the first to go to the doctorless areas of the remote countryside, where people never had medical care. Examples of these are Palanan, Isabela, and Kapangan, Mt. Province . Through the Work-A-Year-With-The-People (WAYWP) project of then Senator Raul Manglapus, Manuel Quezon, Jr., and (now Senator) Ramon Magsaysay, Jr., our very own, Dr. Philip S. Chua, volunteered right after his graduation in 1961, and gained the distinction of being the first physician to minister to the medical needs of the indigent people of Palanan, and his classmate, Dr. Arturo de Leon, did the same for Kapangan a little later. This prompted the Department of Health to assign a physician after them to serve those two remote rural areas. Philip’s pioneering venture attracted the Asia Foundation to offer him a study grant on the community health delivery system in Israel in 1962. Philip is now one of the outstanding Filipino-American cardiovascular surgeons in the United States and currently the president of the FEU-DNR School of Medicine Alumni Foundation in the United States . Arturo, who specializes in Internal Medicine, is based in Raleigh , North Carolina . WAYWP had inspired the establishment of the MARIA Project (Medical Aid to Rural Indigent Areas) organized by Dr. Jesus Tamesis, one of our distinguished faculty members, which has brought the blessings of modern medical science to the inhabitants of these remote rural doctorless areas in the Philippines .

In Kapangan, Mt. Province an indigent lgorot community whose inhabitants also had not seen a physician, the MARIA Project was able to encourage our graduates to man the First medical facility which was built and expanded into a small emergency hospital through voluntary labor of the lgorots with material provided by MARIA and the Belgian mission in Kapangan. We made a small group of interns rotate there until the Department of Health took over. In 1960, the Institute established its School of Medical Technology whose graduates have constantly topped the government board examinations with almost always a 100% passing average. The school is regarded as one of , L . , In 1995, the Commission On Higher Education the best in the country, classified it as " CENTER OF EXCELLENCE On Higer Education" In 1970, Far Eastern University , aware of the modern trends in medical education, through the leadership of Dr. Nicanor Reyes, Jr., university president, and upon the ratification by its stockholders, announced the conversion of the Institute of Medicine , the School of Medical Technology and the hospital into a non-stock, non-profit educational Foundation to become the FEU-DR. NICANOR REYES SR. MEDICAL FOUNDATION, in honor of the Founder and First President of Far Eastern University. In one of his speeches to the faculty, Pres. Nicanor Reyes, Jr., who was also Chairman of the FEU- NRMF Board said:

"So be it, if I am prejudiced in favor of the Institute of Medicine , although as a good president, I try not to be, you know the reason." President Reyes had always supported the Medical Foundation. Our Alumni Association, especially its American Chapter, has contributed generously to the success of their Alma Mater. They have been donating medical and teaching equipments worth millions of pesos almost every year. This has enabled the medical and paramedical schools to keep pace with medical progress. In 1981 , when the FEU allowed the Medical Foundation to purchase the hospital building and its equipment and two other buildings to house the medical and paramedical schools, the American-Chapter of the Alumni Association donated to the Foundation 1/3 of the cost. This attests to the loyalty and strong sense of belonging our alumni have for their Alma Mater. The Institute of Medicine , the School of Medical Technology and hospital have been doing exceptionally well since their establishment. The Institute has been attracting more than a thousand applicants for the freshmen class every year, out of whom only 360 are admitted. The hospital's private and service beds, until recent years, were Filled to capacity. The Medical Foundation has always been Financially sound.

On the death of PHES. REYES, JR.IN i982,Mrs. Josephine C. Reyes- WAS ELECTED Chairman of the FEUNRMF BOARD AND FEU'PRESIOENT. The excellent performance of the Foundation continued. In 1986 the First accreditation of medical schools was conducted by a combined team composed of the Board of Medical Education, the Department of Education, and the Association of Philippine Medical Colleges. A thorough survey was made. The FEU-NRMF Institute of Medicine received the highest level of accreditation with three (3) others "for excellence in medical education" out of 28 medical schools. All these years were the golden years of FEU-NRMF. This year 1996, the Foundation opened the Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation School . In recent years, our physical plant can no longer provide space to accommodate new medical equipments, much less, expand its physical plant and to provide clinics for its doctors and parking space for patients and their physicians. The patient daily census naturally is affected. Renting a neighboring building and parking space which the Board tried to do, was impossible in the area. The Board of Trustees on the initiative of Chairman, Mrs. Josephine C. Reyes, decided to relocate the Medical Foundation, its schools and hospital to a 15,000 sq. m. lot along a wide cemented avenue in Quezon City , relatively free from noise and pollution, a healthy environment for education and medical care. The adjacent 5000 sq. m. lot which is owned by a group composed mostly of alumni will construct the medical arts building for the private clinics of medical staff and visiting physicians of the hospital. Through the efforts of Mrs. Josephine C. Reyes, Board Chairman, the lot has already been purchased, the plans for the building completed and construction is about to start soon at the estimated cost ofP283 million.

This bold move to relocate is expected to resolve the present problems of the Medical Foundation, improve its teaching and medical care facilities in keeping up with the progress of medical science. Just to give you a glimpse of how the future Institute of Medicine, the paramedical schools and the hospital have been planned, let me project quickly some slides. Our Medical Foundation has always strived to adhere to the principle that a medical school is only as good as its faculty, facilities and students taken together. With the success that it has so far achieved and the progressive plans it envisions for its future, there is no doubt that the next years will continue to be golden which will make our alumni proud of their Alma Mater as they have always been. Together we, the faculty, the students, the alumni and the Trustees have done it. Together we shall continue to do it.

Copyright 1998 Philip S. Chua, M.D. 
All Rights Reserved