Even Ducks Get Liver Cancer and Other Medical Misadventures
Blunt, hilarious, and heartbreaking, Even Ducks Get Liver Cancer is a candid and hysterical account of the realities of life in and out of the Philippine General Hospital.
Will Liangco’s collection of essays on his years of training as a medical intern and oncology fellow is everything you need to know about the making of a doctor: sleepless nights, late stipends, and life-and-death decisions in the context of the imperfect Philippine healthcare system.
Read, laugh (and laugh again) at Liangco’s misadventures and how he overcomes the never-ending trials on the human spirit. Whether you're a medical student, a doctor, or a patient, Dr. Will Liangco's collection of medical misadventures will leave you in stitches.
Wilfredo Liangco is an oncologist. He obtained his medical degree at the UP College of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and medical oncology at the Philippine General Hospital. He joined the Bienvenido N Santos Creative Writing Center and has participated in the 1st Creative Nonfiction Writing Workshop on Pathography: Writing the Pandemic. His essays and stories have appeared in The Philippine Star, The Philippines Free Press, Health and Lifestyle Magazine, and The Philippines Graphic. He writes at www.wilfredoliangco.com .
What they say about Even Ducks Get Liver Cancer
“The ludicrous, the grotesque, and the abject, are striking elements in the pen of Dr. Will Liangco, whose 49 ‘tales’ in this debut collection treat the gore of the medical profession with the comic relief of caricature. The gift of dark humor is a difficult thing to handle, and only a few Filipino writers wield it with panache. But in his hands, this penchant for exaggerating the taboo and giving one final ironic twist to the knife does not fail to provoke uneasy laughter, leading to a more serious attention on the structural poverty that afflicts many Filipinos seeking public health service. Exposed through Dr. Will's critical eye, we see in his creative nonfiction narratives his duress as a medical student, a resident, a fellow, and a consultant, as he cares for patients who also have to go through the interminable hurdles and hoops of applying for government subsidy for medical treatment and care. That he chose oncology for his specialization places him in daily proximity with serious illness and death. He says in ‘Alleviations’, that he chose to train in oncology to access facilities, experts, and clinical trials that would alleviate his father's struggle with primary liver cancer. But we discover in the story the real reason: Dr. Will's kindness to his patients comes from his father's advise as a cancer patient and a dying parent: ‘Never be late for your clinic...don't be one of those doctors who make patients wait for hours, only to shoo them out of the room after a rushed consult. Always be nice to them, especially the elderly. Never turn down people asking for help, even if the only motivation is to avoid potential guilt when they die.’ Dr. Will's heart and mind are in their right places, and we cheer him on, the way his mother does in "Private Practice Marketing Primer," proudly giving strangers her doctor-son's calling cards and saying: "Anak ko yan." - Marjorie Evasco, PhD, author of Dreamweavers
“For those of us on the receiving end of medicine, medical encounters can be daunting and depressing or hopeful and uplifting. A lot depends on the doctors, nurses, and other persons we entrust with our maladies. It is this social commentary behind the caricatures that resonated with me most deeply.” - Catherine Rose Torres, author of Sula’s Voyage
“These stories are deceptively breezy and funny. But one reads between the lines and realizes that here is a doctor who cares deeply for his patients, for others, and for the world. We are brought first-hand into the call rooms, the ER, faced with the drama and sanctity of patient care, realizing how difficult it is to go through medical school, residency, and fellowship training. Readers will enjoy the out-of-this-world
experiences, starting with his supposed possession by an evil spirit as a child, or even during the time he had to search his heart and mind for the Tagalog word for “cremation.” We learn new words like “nanetting,” “judgmental prognostication,” and “hypochondriation.” Behind the laughter the pieces evoke, we see clearly the travails of the persona in the many different phases of his life, and we cheer him on, because we want him to succeed. This is the “Other Side” of a doctor’s life, and we commiserate with him in his human-ness, his foibles and misadventures, all told in a voice that is so self-deprecating one couldn’t help but empathize and be one with him. This book is a tour de force, and a must-read! - Alice M. Sun-Cua, MD, author of Golden Kumquats in Trieste and Other Travel Tales
“Will’s Even Ducks Get Liver Cancer will move you to hysterical fits—and to tears. It lets you in on what you won’t see in Grey’s Anatomy, Hospital Playlist, and other Hollywood medical series— that med life isn’t all like it’s cracked up and glamourized to be, but, as with all that life throws us, it’s better to go through it with friends, family, and humor.” - Geraldine Zamora, MD, The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service, Awardee for Medicine, 2019
“On the surface, the medical anecdotes in this collection seemingly intend to elicit laughter with their neologisms and characters with thinly-veiled alter-egos. Reading these tales closely, however, will reveal layers and layers of the author’s authentic character: his deep compassion, effortless wit, dauntingsha rpness, and undeniable kindness. This book allows non-medical readers a rare glimpse of a doctor’s
life, reminiscent of A.B. Rotor’s The Men Who Play God but suffused with unapologetic honesty in the middle of stark reality. For doctors, this book offers more than nostalgia and sentimentality. It encourages them to laugh their alveoli out and to weep with their soul.” - Elvie Victonette Razon-Gonzalez, MD, author of Vignettes of Voyages
ISBN: 978-971-828-121-5 (Paperback)
Trim Size: 5” x 8”
Catalog Category: Creative Nonfiction