Toronto, 10 Oct -- Canada's "Contemporary Bethune's Public Welfare Tour to China" Restarts Experts talk about Bethune's spirit

China News Network reporter Yu Ruidong

In October, the Bethune Medical Development Association of Canada organized a free clinic exchange in China after a three-year hiatus due to the impact of the new crown epidemic. About 3 Canadian medical experts will go to nearly 30 hospitals in many provinces and cities in China to carry out the "Contemporary Bethune Public Welfare Tour".

Before leaving, several medical experts were interviewed by, talking about their experiences of the trip to China and sharing their feelings on the spirit of Bethune.

John Hagen: We are passionate about international medical exchange

Pictured is Dr. John Hagen, a laparoscopist at Humber River Hospital in Toronto. He will attend free surgical consultations in many cities in southern and northern China from mid-October to late October, and share his experience through lectures. Photo by reporter Yu Ruidong

Dr. John Hagen is a laparoscopist at Humber River Hospital in Toronto. He will attend free surgical consultations in many cities in southern and northern China from mid-October to late October, and share his experience through lectures.

Having made about eight free medical trips to China, he looks forward to the exchange work as soon as possible after the pandemic, so that he can work with his Chinese surgical colleagues again to learn more about how they treat diseases such as stomach cancer.

He said that he and his Chinese counterparts discuss various topics such as cancer treatment and surgery, and also perform some major surgeries together and conduct extensive and in-depth exchange of ideas.

In fact, the exchanges organized by the Bethune Medical Development Association of Canada also include inviting Chinese doctors to Canada for a short period of time to get a closer look at the business of their Canadian counterparts. Hagen said that according to the pre-pandemic practice, Chinese counterparts would visit his hospital for three to six months.

Hagen first learned about Norman Bethune in history class. In his view, Bethune is the positive energy that brings technology and ideas to China; The Bethune spirit is all about helping others in any way you can, sharing wisdom and best practices.

He said that due to the large base of cases, many Chinese counterparts have excellent professional capabilities through rich practice. In China, some hospitals are large and some are better equipped than those in Canada.

Of course, he also noticed many differences between the two countries. For example, about eighty percent of surgeries in Canada are day surgeries, and patients can go home on the same day of surgery; In China, almost 100% of surgical patients need to be hospitalized. He hopes that some more effective and reasonable methods of the Canadian hospital system can be of reference to China. Of course, the coexistence of Chinese and Western medicine in China also interests him.

Outside the operating room, Hagen is also a veteran navigator, sailing from Toronto to the Caribbean. He is also a writer who incorporates stories and inspiration from the deck and under the shadowless light into his novels.

However, when he talks about China, he can't help but say: "This is an absolutely stunning and beautiful country." ”

In 2010, Hagen set foot in China for the first time. He said he thought China was still like National Geographic, with everyone riding bicycles. But "it's actually like Mercedes, high-speed rail." "I've seen China's rapid urbanization in the past 13 years, and the speed of infrastructure construction is incredible.

He has been to so many Chinese cities that he can only think of a few place names such as Qiqihar, Changsha, Chongqing, and Guangzhou; He has also seen the Yellow Mountain, the Great Wall, the Terracotta Army... and experienced the friendliness, generosity, and "very safe" feeling of Chinese.

"People who haven't been there in person can't understand the beauty here," Hagen said, "and people don't really understand what China is like and how great it is." ”

He said that the members of the association are keen on international medical exchanges, sharing ideas and learning from each other's strengths, which also helps his own business to improve. At the same time, visiting various parts of China in addition to business exchanges helps to change people's perception of China and allow people to understand different cultures and different people well.

"It's really an amazing place," Hagen said.

Shum Yinggan: I am always grateful to the patients

The picture shows Cen Yinggan, vice president of the Bethune Medical Development Association of Canada and a cardiothoracic surgeon from Montreal, who participated in the free medical exchange activity in China, attending the reception for the 9th anniversary of the National Day of New China held by the Chinese Embassy in Canada in Ottawa on September 28. Photo by reporter Yu Ruidong

For Cen Yinggan, vice president of the Bethune Medical Development Association of Canada and a cardiothoracic surgeon in Montreal, this will be his 11th year in China. In terms of the number of times, it has been almost 40 times.

The Madagascar-born Chinese medical expert still vividly remembers his first trip to China to treat patients. In 2010, he had been looking forward to doing something for his homeland, and with the help of friends, he flew to China and chose to go to Guizhou, which is relatively economically backward. There, he successfully operated on a college student with a serious heart condition. The media, quoting patients, began to refer to Cen and his teammates as "modern-day Bethune."

After that, he joined the Canadian Bethune Medical Development Association and devoted himself more to the exchange of free clinics in China. Today, he has traveled to more than 50 cities in China and completed nearly 130 surgeries.

Cen Yinggan said that during the free consultation, he usually had to do 3 to 4 surgeries a day. Tight time, limited equipment conditions, often challenging, but I am very happy to see one patient after another improve. This process left him with many touching memories.

During a free consultation in Fujian, Cen Yinggan learned that a patient with a surgical emergency had been hospitalized for 5 days. In his view, for every hour of delay, the mortality rate of patients increased by 10%. The difficult surgery lasted five or six hours, during which time it was even necessary to suspend the patient's blood circulation to protect his brain. The next day, the patient miraculously woke up. Facing the grateful family of the patient, Cen Yinggan said, "We are honored to give us the opportunity to try to save your family, and we should thank you."

Recalling this experience, Cen Yinggan's eyes were filled with tears. He said he is still grateful to his patients.

Shum Yinggan said that Bethune is one of the pioneers in the field of social medicine and has contributed a lot to many good deeds such as universal care. For himself, he said, patients never think about money, rewards and the like. Practicing medicine is a profession very different from many other professions. For doctors, doing their best to help patients is part of an obligation, at least a moral obligation.

He said that the most satisfying thing about participating in the free clinic exchange activities is that in the process of going to places outside of China's big cities, he can introduce to his Chinese hospital counterparts the way Canadian counterparts manage patients, the treatment before and after surgery, and introduce related new concepts. The progress of Chinese counterparts is very fast. It's extremely valuable for me, as it's "one of the most satisfying experiences" to work with a group of people who are passionate about learning, communicating, and having different ideas.

Shum hopes to see more progress from her Chinese counterparts during this year's journey. But he also said: "I learned more from them than they learned from me." "Because when you're faced with a difficult case, it's like an intellectual challenge, and that's what drives a lot of great research and great ideas."

"Being able to contribute to health (career) is something that money can't compare," Cen said.

Paul Charson: I don't compare myself to Bethune

Paul Chiasson, director of the surgical training program of the Bethune Medical Development Association in Canada and a thoracic surgeon at St. Mary's General Hospital in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, was interviewed on October 10. Photo by reporter Yu Ruidong

Paul Chiasson, a thoracic surgeon at St. Mary's General Hospital in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, is also a "traveler" as the director of the surgical training program at the Bethune Medical Development Association of Canada.

For him, who has participated in free medical visits to China since 2016, this will be his fifth trip to China. He and his wife, a nurse, will travel to Lanzhou, Haikou, Yiwu and other cities in two weeks.

He said that whenever he had the opportunity, he would go to China because of the amazing life experience there. Xia Yasong, who has visited more than a dozen cities, said it was very interesting that he did not expect that the people and cultures of China's provinces would have "such a big" difference, which was eye-opening.

For him, professional practice and travel are the themes of his visit to China. One of the other happy things for him is that he not only has free clinics, teachings and demonstrations, but also learns from his Chinese counterparts and can always learn new things. At the same time, the free clinic exchange program also gives them the opportunity to visit some cities that are "little known" to most tourists. The beauty of travel is to experience different cultures, meet different people and their lifestyles, and enter different worlds.

Xia Yasong said that the two-week trip is always very close. At the end of the two weeks, I am often tired, but I still find the trip very interesting and rewarding. He saw that in some ways, some surgeons in China were extremely skilled in some ways, including in his field, and they were happy to share. Watching their surgery was "fascinating". On his bookshelf, there is also a CD recorded by a Chinese minimally invasive surgery expert on different surgical techniques.

Xia Yasong believes that there are indeed many differences between the medical systems of Canada and China, such as preoperative examinations, postoperative care, and the way patients are admitted and discharged. But in the operating room, the difference is not much, and the surgical methods are very similar. As for the combination of traditional Chinese medicine and Western medicine in China, he said: "We should do more in this area. ”

The gains don't stop there. Xia Yasong said that Chinese is a very gracious host. The patient and his family hugged the Canadian doctor and cried and expressed their gratitude, which became an unforgettable scene.

Xia Yasong also gained friendship that touched him. After working closely with a doctor in Zhejiang, they became good friends. The Chinese colleague even asked Xia Yasong to choose an English name for his newborn son. Charson, who felt honored, thought about it a little and gave the child a name related to olive branch, peace, and devotion: Oliver,

In China, he said, it sometimes feels like being on a "different planet" and that "we see something in China that most Westerners don't see, it's very special." This will remain in my heart forever. ”

Today, Xia Yasong's son has been studying for Chinese for 6 years and works in a Chinese restaurant.

Speaking of Bethune, Charson said that Dr. Bethune is not as famous in Canada as he is in China. But as a thoracic surgeon, he knew a lot about Bethune. He couldn't help but lament that a fellow Canadian had done what he had to do, won the gratitude of Chinese people, and even became part of the social culture in China. It was quite an honor.

"I will never compare myself to Bethune, I will never be able to fill his gap," Charson said. In his view, the Bethune spirit embodies a spirit of dedicating one's time and expertise in a non-political and humanitarian way, and a spirit of cooperation and helping others on a human level. He said the work of the Bethune Medical Development Association of Canada is based on this, "and we are trying to build on this and move on." ”

Founded in 2011, the Canadian Bethune Medical Development Association is a non-profit organization composed of medical experts to promote the spirit of Bethune internationalism and promote medical exchanges between Canada and China. Its members mainly include medical professors, doctors and researchers from many well-known universities and hospitals in Canada. Since 2012, the association has actively organized Canadian medical experts to carry out free consultations and academic exchanges in hospitals in China, and later organized Chinese doctors to study in Canada.