Confession: Every now and again, a headline or photo on a tabloid, like The National Enquirer, or the Star, catches my eye, perks my interest, and forces me to purchase the rag. I’m not proud of that fact, but there ya go. Occasionally, in one of these rags, you’ll see an article about this starlet or that musician or that film star of yesteryear who is battling an illness, or an addiction, something along those lines. Invariably, the reporter of the piece will reach out to a medical expert, a physician, usually, who will weigh in on the case. “Madame X looks to have had a rhinoplasty, and cheek implants,” said Dr. Nick Nipantuck, "WHO HAS NOT TREATED MADAME X." Yep, basically, ole Dr. Nick, looking to get a little ink, get some pub for his practice, or a plug for a new book, has looked at a photo of Madame X, and offered his theory—we can assume I guess that it is an informed theory—that Madame X has gone under the knife, got some work done.
I found myself thinking about this common tabloid practice when I heard that a doctor in the Philippines, Dr. Rustico Jimenez, touted as president of Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines, told radio station dzMM that he observed signs in Manny Pacquiao that led him to publicly proclaim the 34 year-old boxer is showing early signs of Parkinson’s. He cited Pacquiao’s stuttering, and hand twitching as evidence that punches have taken a brutal toll on the fighter. To ABS-CBN News, Jimenez urged the boxer to retire. He noted, in a phoner with ABS after the radio interview, that he could be wrong about his observations... but isn’t that maybe like me yelling, “Fire!” in a crowded restaurant, and then “clarifying” that maybe in fact, I didn’t see a fire, it could be in fact an overheated pan in the kitchen smoking up the joint, after the fact, after I created a stampede to the exits?
Now, maybe I’m fully in the wrong here, maybe Jiminez is spot on. I’m not looking to kill the messenger here. I don’t want to be the excessive skeptic, and assume that the man’s primary objective isn’t Manny’s well being. But…should a physician diagnose a person who isn’t his patient off a TV clip? OK, I haven’t seen copious footage of Manny being interviewed after the Marquez loss…but have any of you seen him shaking during interviews, or heard him stuttering during interviews? Maybe I’ve missed that, and if yes, maybe Jimenez is talking truth, not engaging in self-aggrandizing and irresponsible conjecture. The ABS piece also featured the viewpoint of a Dr. Raquel Fortun, a “renowned forensics expert,” who apparently isn’t convinced that the post-fight Catscan showing Pacquiao’s brain to be OK was legit. Fortun was said to be alarmed over a report or “reports” that Pacquiao suffered a “slight seizure” after being felled by Marquez. Now, I scanned Google news for a mention of this “seizure” and didn’t see anything beyond the reference on ABN. Again, please point me to the source where it was stated that Pacquiao had a seizure because of the knockout, as I could acknowledge that sounds more worrisome than a "regular" KO.
We may not know who was right here for another five, ten, 20 years or more. But I feel like the theorizing of two physicians who have not examined Pacquiao is getting more play than is deserved, and it’s incumbent upon all of us to take a wide view on the matter, and traffic in facts, rather than guesses.
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