Written by: Joni Yu, Zhong Wen-Ying Photographers: Huang Hsiao-Chuan, Chen Guanxian Translate: Jeff Lu, May Lin
Mahayana Buddhism has to go amongst people, so is medical care.
Superintendent Lai Ning-Sheng and Vice Superintendent Chien Rui-Teng of Dalin Tzu Chi Hospital shared how internal medicine and surgery worked together to relieve the suffering of patients and to make patients feel warm.
Superintendent Lai said that this is a time for us to show our gratitude. With the advance of modern technology, better medical services can be provided. But will this make us ignore the real needs of patients? It’s our goal to provide better medical service to our patients with a loving heart.
Twelve years ago, Superintendent Lai worked in the hospital until ten o'clock at night. At that time, one patient caught his attention. It was a student in the uniform of Taipei First Girls’ High School. It turned out that she has been affected by vitiligo since she was a junior high school student.
“Can it be cured?" asked the student. However, at that time, Lai hadn’t had the experience in treating vitiligo. The students said that the doctor in Taipei only told her that it would make her look ugly. For a long time, dermatologists have surrendered to vitiligo. "If this has something to do with syndromes of immune disease, let us work together to cure it!" said Lai.
Lai decided to do his best to help this worry-ridden student and made medical examination first. When she returned to the clinic to see the inspection report two weeks later, it turned out that she was affected by lupus erythematosus rather than vitiligo.
Later, this student attended the Department of Economics at National Taiwan University and then went to the United States for further study.
Lai pointed out that melanocytes are controlled by the immune system. Vitiligo develops when the immune system starts attacking melanocytes. Of course, it can be cured. According to statistics, vitiligo is most likely to appear on face. And that is the most troublesome for the patients. Yet, in some serious cases, it can threats the whole body. Many patients with vitiligo may immune dysfunction disorder. Some patients’ number of white blood cells even dropped to 4000. Many patients with vitiligo may be diagnosed with diseases such as lupus erythematosus or dermatomyositis.
Teachers have never taught us these! When a doctor’s heart goes to patients, the doctor can help patients have a bright future. Lai treats patient with vitiligo with low-dose immunomodulator. As a result, 95% of the patients find vitiligo doesn’t spread to other places of the body. After half a year, the color of vitiligo can become lighter. Within three to five years, the pigment will regenerate, and some white spots will disappear.
In addition, he mentioned Besett's disease from a case of 21-year-old female patient who was then a salesperson in a department store. She had a large hole in the large intestine. She had already had six surgeries on large intestines in the medical center, only to find it reoccurred after three months. Dean Lai said that he would take this case and use the modern targeted molecular therapy to avoid the recurrence and other serious sequelae. Now, the girl is happy happily enjoy her life. If we were worried that sepsis would take a lot of time to treat and refuse her, what would happen to her life? We should voluntarily give advices to the patients and work hard for them.
Dean Lai stressed that doctors belong to a very lucky group. but,could they respond to the simple needs of patients from their hearts? The diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis is not difficult, but in the past it was not easy. The patient may have mild muscle soreness, but may have missed the chance of diagnosis. It will be good to take a break from sports injuries, but to arthritis it can be futile and unsatisfactory. With the advancement of technology, it is easy to find the signs by examining the images, yet most of the patients' reactions are only partial sore problems. If the doctors don't care, they will miss the opportunity of discovery and treatment.
Why don't we sit back and listen to what the patient says, for that voice is most urgent to them.
"Hinayana medical care is like a doctor who only wants to stay in the comfort zone, while Mahayana medical care is a break from the comfort zone, pursuing better medical cares and spreading it to more patients in need."
Deputy Dean Chien Rui-Teng explained the difference etween Mahayana and Hinayana. When the effects of medical treatment by internal medicine is limited while treating ankylosing spondylitis, how to get further effected by applying surgical treatments?
There is a 36-year-old young man with a hunchback deformation over one hundred degrees. His head is too low to look forward and resulted in great inconvenience in body functions and handicaps on relationship family. The effect of treatments by simply taking drug has reached the limit for more than ten years. Surgery would be only way to cure it. Dr. Chien Rui-Teng said that because the patient still had chronic diseases such as diabetes, he had to go through a detailed preliminary planning before treatment. Use the osteotomy to perform the first stage of surgery, taking a section of the bone for a one-time correction, to reduce the curvature from more than one hundred degrees to forty degrees, and then perform the second stage treatment with multiple corrections. All these efforts made him finally lie flat and stand up right without extra efforts. These depend on the depth of medical care: only high technology, surgeries and teamwork can cure patients and change one's life and bring satisfactions to families.
Regarding the warmth felt by the patients during the medical treatment, Dr. Chien Rui-Teng said that the operation room is very cold, but the ward is very warm, there are care given by the nursing staff 24 hours a day, and it is very grateful for the cooperation of the nursing staff. The wife of the 36-year-old patient thanked gratefully that Dr. Chien was like a mother taking care of the children.
With the spirit of Mahayana Buddhism, we should spread our love to more people and encourage the suffering to take formal medical treatment. Dr. Chien Rui-Teng mentioned that at one time, a patient from Penghu had two unsuccessful operations in Taipei. He was almost to give up. Later, when he learned that Dr. Jian treated a patient successfully through media, he came to Dalin for treatment.
Dr. Chien gave him a two-stage treatment by losing bone traction first and then a bone correction, to make the neck corrected for up to 35 degrees. We should also appreciate the help of the simulated surgery provided by Tzu Chi University, during which, practices were made on the silent mentors to avoid mistakes in operations. Now the young man has a brighter future. However, when he returned to Penghu, the medical team of the Dalin Tzu Chi Dalin Hospital was very worried about him. Thus, the medical staff decided to escort him home and the TIMA members in Penghu would take care of him. He was very grateful toTIMA members for what they’ve done for him. Tzu Chi volunteers in Penghu even found a second-hand bed for him.
Dr. Chien finally made a conclusion for this talk. Only when we get out of the comfort zone, can we come up new methods to relieve the patients’ suffering with a loving heart.
"Having listened to the talk, I think of my patients. I’ve driven him home. Since then, I often drop by his home," said a 30-year-old dentist, Kan Chan Siang. He and his fiancée are both TIMA members in Malaysia. They are working at a heart center in Sarawak. This was the third time he attended the TIMA Convention. Currently, he and 50 members are responsible for the free clinics in Sarawak, where is 20 years behind the western part of Western Malaysia. They need to help the indigenous people with their healthy habits and other problems. That’s why Dr. Jian and his team members have been providing medical services there for three years.
Dr. Kan Chan Siang from Malaysia admires Superintendent Lai Ning-Sheng and Vice Superintendent Chien Rui-Teng for their spirits. Dr. Kan Chan Siang undertakes the consultation of the clinic in Sarawak.