Fresh from acquiring his medical license and officially becoming a doctor, Miguel “Mikko” Manalastas, MD-MBA was immediately exposed to the real world of medicine: Doc Mikko took charge of assisting a mother in giving birth in a car's backseat, with only makeshift gloves from wet wipes and a bath towel, to ensure a safe delivery. This moment earned him the "Doc Gyver" monicker, inspired by the hit 1980s TV series MacGyver, where the protagonist is known for having the same ingenuity, creating solutions from ordinary things.
“It was at moment that I knew I had to take action; I had to be brave for the family [because] this was what I was called to do,” Doc Mikko said in an interview with ABS-CBN Lifestyle.
“[The couple was] probably unsure of my skills and capabilities, but I assured them that I was competent enough to respond to such a situation," Doc Mikko shared, adding that he started doing what he had to do that time after taking a deep breath.
“Soon, I find them nodding their heads after having gained their trust because I believed in myself, and perhaps my confidence followed.”
All of those sacrifices and sleepless nights during med school became worth it for Doc Mikko, especially when the couple was thanking him for the immediate assistance he has given to them. “The appreciation and gratitude that they gave was more than enough payment,” he adds.
A few days after that very memorable “baptism of fire” experience, we caught up with Doc Mikko to talk more about his experience, and life lessons even non-doctors can apply in their lives:
On being book smart vs. being street smart: While Doc Mikko thinks that it's important to be both book smart and street smart, he personally prefers to be the latter. “It takes experience, maturity, good judgement, and guts to make these calls,” he notes.
On the word "toxic": While the word often has a negative connotation, Doc Mikko explains that one can make use of “toxic” situations positively. “The cases that you see can be an avenue for learning,” he said. “I have learned to embrace it and take each [situation] as an opportunity to grow and understand."
On experiences: Learning does not stop even after one finishes school, especially when it comes to professions like medicine. “Medicine is a craft that takes years of continuous practice and exposure to different cases in order to sharpen one’s clinical eye and expand one’s knowledge,” Doc Mikko explains. Outside of medicine, real-life experiences shape us to be better persons in our journey in this world.
Doc Mikko at work.
On helping others: “Once you show and let [people] feel that you genuinely care, then they will listen to you no matter what," he shared.
On giving your best: “Don’t do this just for yourself, but do it for something bigger. Once it becomes self-serving, it diminishes and loses its value and purpose.”
Doc Mikko (in blue) with his colleagues.
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Photographs courtesy of Mikko Manalastas