Why You Should Have A Dedicated Family Physician

Why You Should Have A Dedicated
Family Physician

Joy Rojas

For CMI’s urgent care specialists, a family doctor spells convenience and constant care

When her mother showed symptoms of a stroke at 2 in the morning, the daughter called her mom’s longtime doctor, a neurologist who has seen her through two earlier strokes in over a decade. That the doctor was on lockdown abroad due to the ongoing pandemic didn’t matter. Over the phone, she was on top of the situation, attending to her patient at a most critical time.

After instructing the daughter to take her mother to the hospital, the neurologist conferred with the ER doctor, and was even up to speed on the results of her patient’s CT scan. She then requested her colleague, a neurologist connected with the hospital, to look after her patient and update her on developments.

Ten days later, the patient was discharged, and the doctor continued to keep tabs of her condition through texts exchanges with the daughter. Maintenance medicines were added or discontinued, and dosages were tweaked when necessary in the weeks that followed.

Four months later, her patient celebrated her 87th birthday.  “She’s my success story,” acknowledged the doctor.

“She would not be where she is today if it weren’t for your constant care,” said the grateful daughter.

Constant care

That constant care has long been extended to the rest of the patient’s family too. Over the years, the neurologist has become this family’s physician, offering advice on urgent medical problems, and facilitating referrals to other specialists when necessary.

She recently helped put together a team of doctors to treat her patient’s nanny, who was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. Her patient’s daughter also texts occasionally for health-related concerns; chest pain that she feared was a heart ailment turned out to costochondritis, an inflammation of the cartilage that subsided after a week of pain relievers. Privy to the family’s personal issues, the doctor has even been sought for her advice and opinion on sensitive matters.


Such is the role of a family doctor, “your first point of contact for any physical, mental, emotional, social, and even cultural, economic, and spiritual concerns,” says John David D. Castillo, general practitioner and urgent care specialist at Centre Medicale Internationale (CMI). “We look after you as a whole person and through all stages of your life, regardless of your age or gender, using patient-centered approaches.”

“A family doctor knows you on a personal level and offers advice or recommendations that fit your lifestyle,” avers Ryan J. Pajarillo, internist and CMI urgent care specialist.

Choosing a family doctor

When choosing a doctor for you and your family, ensuring that he or she is board certified is a start. “The doctor’s expertise must be all-encompassing of the basics and other medical sciences,” says Dr. Pajarillo. Practical factors like the location of a doctor’s clinic, hospital affiliations, his or her accessibility, and even insurance coverage are also major considerations.

In a relationship that is meant for the long haul, it is just as important to find a family doctor who makes you feel at ease. “I think the best thing for your health is to choose a doctor you trust,” says Dr. Castillo. “One who you can talk to openly and honestly about personal issues, someone who explains things to you in a way that you can understand, and who takes the time to listen.”

“In general, the doctor has to be knowledgeable, well-equipped, competent, and compassionate.”

Drs. Castillo and Pajarillo enumerate four advantages of having a dedicated family physician:

They offer convenience.  Annual checkups can be scheduled together as a family, as can specific procedures like the RT-PCR Swab Test and vaccines. Dr. Castillo recalls a time when his patient was diagnosed with tuberculosis; the next step was to have the rest of the family tested.

Routine screenings are just one of many things a family doctor can do. “We can also do minor surgical procedures, like draining or suturing a wound,” he adds.

“Some common diseases and conditions can easily be managed by a family physician,” agrees Dr. Pajarillo. “This lessens the need for specialty referrals and unnecessary clinic exposure.”

You experience continuity of care.  “This benefits not just one family member, but the rest of the family,” says Dr. Pajarillo. “Having a family doctor makes it easy to keep track of the medical history of the entire family, and to correlate information to come up with the best medical care for them. Establishing a relationship with your doctor also means there is no need to repeat your and your family members’ medical history to a new doctor. Follow-ups are also easier if you have a dedicated family doctor.”


“In essence, a family doctor is someone who sees the big picture of you and your family’s health history, and one who continues to journey with you and your family through the different stages of your life,” sums up Dr. Castillo.

Their concern for you goes beyond physical health.  At CMI, a family’s yearly checkups aren’t just a way for Dr. Castillo to monitor their chronic illnesses. He also gets to see the relationship dynamics of its members. “Through regular visits, we witness important family events, recognize each members’ habits, and even note possible stress triggers,” he says. “If a mother loses her job, we think, ‘How is this going to affect her husband and their children?’”

This intimate perspective allows family doctors to provide a comprehensive and holistic approach to managing their patients’ health.

They work with other specialists.  At CMI, which has a roster of over 150 board-certified physicians covering various specialties and medical needs, patients enjoy a level of personalized care from a multi-disciplinary team of doctors.

A bedridden geriatric patient with Alzheimer’s disease has three specialists looking after his specific needs. His meals are meticulously prepared by caregivers under the guidance of a holistic and nutritional medicine practitioner. A special dentist made a house call to fix his dentures. And a neurologist addresses any sleep and behavioral issues that come with dementia. She also works with the patient’s family, ensuring that he gets round-the-clock cognitive stimulation at home.

“And patients appreciate that—seeing us functioning like a team, working together to give you the best type of patient experience,” says Dr. Castillo.

Find the best family physician for you at CMI

CMI provides the most basic family and personal medicine care through its urgent care doctors—board-certified internal medicine specialists and pediatricians who can attend to the needs of single, young professions and multi-generation clans.

“At CMI, we use the urgent care model, wherein patients see an urgent care physician first and all health problems, current and probable, are discussed,” says Dr. Pajarillo. “If there is a need for referral to a specialist, the urgent care physician knows to whom to refer a patient. All patients and their companions are also thoroughly screened before going to the clinic to ensure the safety of all.”

“In all my years at CMI, I’ve seen firsthand how it has stayed true to its vision of raising the bar in urgent outpatient medical care and creating compelling customer experiences,” adds Dr. Castillo. “We make sure we keep to a standard and adhere to our patient-centered philosophy of personalized treatment programs consistent with evidence-based practice.”

“We also have clean, calming, and elegant consultation suites and you virtually do not have to wait to be cared for by our very friendly and professional staff and highly qualified doctors,” he says. “It has been and will continue to be a worthwhile and satisfying overall experience for patients who have made CMI their families’ clinic of choice.”

To schedule an appointment at CMI, call 0927.931.7194 or email experience@cminternationale.com | Centre Médicale Internationale is at 2/F Ore Central Bldg., 31st Street corner 9th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City.

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