TMC: How patients and doctors work together for better health care

via The Medical City |

Flora Sese has been a loyal patient of The Medical City (TMC) since the 1970s, witnessing first-hand its evolution into one of the country’s top health care facilities. When she decided to have her periodic medical check-up in 2009, she had it done in TMC.

A thorough work-up revealed that Flora had liver cirrhosis and was referred to hepatologist Dr. Eternity Labio of the hospital’s Center for Liver Disease Management and Transplantation (TMC Liver Center). She underwent screening for liver cancer and was found to have a malignant tumor in her liver. Having concurrent diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol made treatment of her liver disease more complex.

Flora and her husband then met with a multidisciplinary team of liver specialists which included Dr. Eternity Labio (hepatologist), Dr. Ramon Santos-Ocampo (interventional radiologist) and Dr. Vanessa de Villa (liver and transplant surgeon).

“I was scared at first,” says Flora. “But because my doctors thoroughly explained to me and my husband the treatment options available for my liver tumor, I felt reassured. Dr. Labio told me that I was fortunate that my cancer was detected early, even before symptoms appeared, and this made my chances for cure higher.”

Flora and her team of specialists then decided to treat her liver cancer with Transarterial Chemoembolization (TACE) and Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA). Flora tolerated the treatment well and her liver tumor has responded favorably since. In Flora’s case, Dr. Labio stressed the importance of regular check-ups with her doctor and compliance to medications as key to early diagnosis and treatment.

As daunting as her liver disease seemed, Flora proved to be an excellent patient partner. She actively participated in the management of her health by constantly collaborating with her medical team, religiously following her doctor’s advice and taking her medications regularly.

“It was very important that Flora complied with her medications and regular check-ups with her physicians,” says Dr. Labio. “Flora was most cooperative and made sure that she communicated with us regularly. She wanted to ensure that her treatment would really work for her.”

Flora’s commitment certainly paid off. She remains active and well in spite of her liver disease, and as of this writing, her liver tumor continues to shrink and respond favorably. “Flora is a living example that you can feel and look great, and be happy in spite of liver cirrhosis and liver cancer,” Dr. Labio attests.

“You don’t have to feel hopeless just because you have liver cancer,” says Flora. “You just have to be positive and make smart decisions.”

No matter how much TMC’s services and facilities have progressed since the 70’s, the genuine mark of its success lies in how well the hospital’s patients and doctors work together towards effective, tailor-made treatment. Flora not only remained loyal to TMC as an institution, she has also remained true to TMC as an example of how great health care should be.