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Are you really a doctor?
« on: August 25, 2007, 11:48:25 AM »
Written By Yolanda Sotelo-Fuertes
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Pangasinan - He's no Doogie Howser, the fictional teenage doctor in the popular '90s American sitcom, but whenever Adrian Paul Rabe makes his rounds at the Philippine General Hospital, he gets questioning looks from patients.

"Are you really a doctor?" some would ask.

No wonder. Rabe, a native of this town, was barely out of his teens when he started out as a medical clerk and intern at the PGH.

At 22, he is the youngest member of Class 2007 of the University of the Philippines' seven-year Integrated Liberal Arts-Medicine (Intarmed) program. He passed the medical licensure examinations this month.

The Intarmed program allows high school graduates to be directly admitted to the UP College of Medicine.

Rabe said that of the original 40 members of his class in the Intarmed program, 37 graduated in April. The 37 were also among the 141 board passers from the UP College of Medicine in 2007.

Rabe turned 23 on Aug. 17, the day after the medical board exam results were released. He said he did not mind when patients expressed doubts upon learning his age.

He said he would tell them they had nothing to worry about because, he may be young but he knew what to do.

"It's an opportunity to be here at a young age. I'm just younger than others, not special at all," says Rabe, who plans to take his residency at PGH, specializing in internal medicine, "most probably cardiology."

Emmanuel Hao II, class president, said Rabe may be the youngest in their class, but he described the young man as "smart, knowledgeable and very mature for his age."

Rabe said his experiences as a boy helped make him a professional and responsible young man.

When he was young, his family lived in Kuwait. His father, Pete, an engineer, was a contract worker while his mother, Zenaida, also an engineer, took care of him and his four siblings.

He was six years old when the Gulf War broke out in August 1990 and the family decided to return to the Philippines.

"As we drove to Jordan, we were stopped by the military and my father was separated from us. We were taken to a desert camp where there were no [toilets] and we had to do it in the desert. We stayed there for some weeks," Rabe recalled.

"It was difficult because it was only my mother who took care of us and we had no idea where my father was. But she was very strong and she told us we would see him soon," he said.

They were back in the Philippines in September 1990. His father arrived a week later. The family decided to settle in this town and start a photo studio and developing business.

"I don't belong to an affluent family. I guess my experiences during the war, in the desert, made me more tolerant and caring," Rabe said.

"The patients who go to the PGH are [mostly] poor, sometimes [they are] unkempt and smelly. Many of them are dying and we can only give them palliative medical care. Most of the time, my classmates would ask me to take over [the care] of these patients because they know I am matiisin (tolerant) and I can keep a happy face," he says.

His mother said Rabe learned to stand up and walk on his own before he turned one.

At three years old, he was reading the labels on milk cartons and, later, Bible stories (his parents are Jehovah's Witnesses).

His mother said Rabe would listen when she would tutor his older siblings.

"That was how he learned how to read and write," she says.

When they returned to the Philippines, his mother enrolled Rabe, then six years old, at the Cherished Moments Montessori School in Mangaldan.

At first he was in a pre-school class but because he could already read and write, he was "accelerated" to Grade 1 after only a month.

He was always at the top of his class, graduating valedictorian in high school.

Rabe said he initially wanted to take up architecture but the UP College Admission Test application form had an item asking the applicant if he wanted to apply for the shortened medical course.

It was his brother, Mark, a UP law graduate, who told him to try out for the program.

Rabe took his advice and ranked fourth in the entrance examination and interview for Intarmed.

Apart from medicine, Rabe devotes his time to other interests like debating and sports.

He was cited the third best speaker during the Asian Universities Debating Championship held in Singapore in May. He was also a member of his class badminton team.


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Romans 10:9
"That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved."

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