I was a graduate of Far Eastern University-NRMF year 1994 and practice as a pediatrician until, fall time of September 2003, when I left my thriving Pediatric practice in the Philippines and 4 months pregnant with a twin and had a 3, 4 and 8 years old children we boarded the plane at Ninoy International Airport going to California, USA, with only one vision in mind for my children to grow up with their father and to build a life as a family. I though everything will be fine at a young age of 35 years old and on the peak of my career I thought life will be easier and it will be the same.
I came in the United States on an H4 visa hoping that my husband employer will give him an immigrant visa but it took almost 6 years before the immigrant visa was issued to him. Raising five children while studying for all the USMLE steps and without any guidance on how to be a physician here in the United States is not an easy task so it took me a lot of attempts to passed each step. We need to loan money so I can take the Kaplan review course for step 1 and go to Texas to took a review course for 2 months for the step 2 at Falcon review course and must pay someone to take care of my children while I am at a review course and my husband had to work from other state. I passed the step 1 and 2 year 2009. The expenses also are to much each step cost a lot of money plus the expenses for externship which will not give you any hands on and assurance to have a slot on a residency training because one of the requirement if you are a foreign graduate is to have a US clinical experience. For almost 14 years I did not stopped trying every opportunity that I can get to landed a slot for a residency training. But as years passed by my chance to practice medicine in the United States become smaller and smaller.
The greatest nightmare of my life is the year 2007 when my ex-husband was laid off from his job as a telecommunication engineer. We are a single-family income raising 5 children. For the first time in our lives we must depend on other people to feed and clothes our children. My ex-husband also must have to washed dishes and I should clean houses just to feed our children. This put a toil in my marriage, it was year 2009 when my ex-husband and I had a divorce. I was on an H4 visa at that time, so I was not allowed to work in the United States legally. So, I asked friends if they can give me a menial job like cleaning their houses and selling rice cakes and pastries to friends.
Year 2010, when I met someone, and got my US citizenship thru marriage, I go back to school and finished my master in public health hoping this can be a passport to practice medicine again. I been able to land a job in one of the University in New Jersey as an adjunct professor in Human Biology and volunteer at methadone clinic in Philadelphia. But this salary is not enough to pay my 120 thousand dollars debts, and to send my children to college
E.C. Dufourt MD