Biology Major Shadows Doctors in Filipino Hospital

Published: Jul 21, 2010
International student Reed Masakayan ’12 had plans to go home to Dubai this summer with a side trip to spend a month with relatives in the Philippines. But instead of a relaxing retreat, Masakayan found himself confronted with an appendectomy, abdominal explorations and kidney stone removals.

Masakayan, a biology and pre-medicine major who spent most of his childhood in Manila, decided to make the most of his time abroad by interning at the Cruz-Rabe Maternity and General Hospital in Manila.

“There are generally a lot of opportunities for medical students in the Philippines,” said Masakayan who was intrigued by the variety of the cases he knew he’d be exposed to in a hospital. As an intern, he helped record diagnosis for the doctors, measure blood pressure and answer patient inquiries in the emergency room. He also observed and asked a lot of questions.

Masakayan’s microbiology classes at The University of Tampa helped give him a better understanding of the cases he saw revolve through the hospital doors.

“A good number of the patients were diagnosed with food poisoning and parasitic infections. So in such cases, I had a general knowledge of the etiology of the concerned bacteria or parasite,” Masakayan said. “I'm positive this experience will help me, especially in my higher biology courses, particularly parasitology and immunology.”

Dr. Wayne Price, a UT biology professor, said Masakayan’s experience in the Philippines was unusual for an undergraduate.

“Not only did he get to see a wide variety of medical cases, including tropical diseases, but he was able to observe a health care system that is quite different from the one in the United States,” said Price. “And, of course, the experience will make a great addition to his application to medical schools.”

Masakayan is active in UT’s pre-professional club, Skull and Bones. He said the internship left an impression and confirmed his ultimate goal of becoming a doctor.

“The whole experience was memorable,” he said. “The resident doctors and nurses were really welcoming. There was never a dull moment.”

Jamie Pilarczyk, Web Writer
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