Personality profile: A surgeon for the needy | SunStar

Personality profile: A surgeon for the needy

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Personality profile: A surgeon for the needy

Saturday, June 17, 2017

GETTING burned by a candle is already painful. Now imagine how much it would hurt if three-fourths of your body gets burned.

Good thing, we have Rizal Aportadera manning the country’s biggest burn unit here to accommodate not only patients from Davao City but the whole Mindanao as well.

Thousands sought for treatment and thousands have been aided by Dr. Rizal. And because of the long process and huge cost to have these injuries treated, mostly, when it’s billing time, there’s nothing much left for the doctor and he’s totally okay with it.

The reason behind his passion for serving burn patients happened when he was three years old. He sustained a major burn injury after accidentally sitting on a basin of freshly prepared starch.

It was in 1941 and there were no antibiotic to use against infection nor was there any effective topical burn ointment to apply to burnt parts of his skin. He remembered uncomfortable nights trying to get sleep and days where he would only cry in pain.

"Surviving a major burn injury at that time was a miracle. I was that miracle. I was alive for my future role as a burn doctor," he said adding that it was also that time when he realized he should do something as payback for such miracle.

Spending his time treating burn patients has become Doctor Rizal's passion. "Every patient that we are able to save and restore to be normal again is a victory that carries with it immense professional reward," he shared.

There might be no penny left for him at the end of a patient's healing process but this is a reality he was already aware of even before entering the profession.

He said, "There is a truism in all burn units in the world that those who treat burn patients receive their reward in heaven. I consider my labors as a Burn doctor as my investment in eternity."

Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on June 17, 2017.

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