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Nov 18th
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Home Our Missions Mission of Medicine The Taipei Tzu Chi General Hospital - The first surgery

The Taipei Tzu Chi General Hospital - The first surgery

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The Taipei Tzu Chi General Hospital
The first surgery
The company of volunteer
A peaceful mind is good for treatment
Protecting neighbors' health
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The first surgery
For seven days before the Tzu Chi Hospital formally opened on May 8, it provided free medical treatment as a way of giving back to the surrounding community. When Lu Ken-tien offered to serve as a Tzu Chi volunteer at the free clinic, he never expected to be the first patient to undergo surgery at the hospital.

After serving as a volunteer for two days, Lu began to feel ill. A day of rest at home did not relieve him of his abdominal pains. In fact, the pain worsened, and he checked into the emergency department of a hospital near his home.

The doctor told him he might be suffering from appendicitis and asked him to stay in the hospital so that his condition could be easily monitored. Because the Taipei Tzu Chi Hospital was opening the next day, Lu thought to himself, "It would be a pity if I couldn't take part in the opening ceremony. If I need an operation, why not receive it in the Taipei Tzu Chi Hospital?"

On the morning of May 8, Lu checked into the emergency room of the hospital. A volunteer who knew him joked, "This can't be a coincidence--you just want to test our equipment!"

After Lu underwent all the necessary examinations, doctors confirmed that he had appendicitis and scheduled an operation. Before the operation, Lu's anesthesiologist came to his side and explained, "After we go into the operating room, the medicine in your drip will help you fall asleep. When you wake up, you may experience nausea and dizziness. But don't worry, these are normal symptoms and we'll take care of you."

As part of standard pre-surgical procedure, doctors always explain how the anesthesia will be administered and any complications that might arise in order to help patients understand what will be happening and reduce their level of anxiety. Li Chun-yi, head of the anesthesia department, said, "We work with each patient closely to assess the risk of complications and to choose the best anesthetic method accordingly."

The operation, performed by Dr. Wu Chao-chin, lasted 40 minutes. After the surgery, Wu visited Lu in his ward.

"Does the wound still hurt?"

"Not really," Lu answered with a smile.

"You have quite an endurance for pain!" responded Dr. Wu. "Your appendix was perforated and you had a white blood cell count of over 11,000, and yet you said you didn't feel any pain." Wu explained further that it would have been better to perform the operation earlier. Fortunately, the hole in Lu's appendix was covered by the small intestines and only caused local peritonitis.

Wu showed some pictures taken during the operation to Lu and his family. "This is a laparoscope. It has a very small lens at one end that enables one to see clearly. During an operation, the surgeon only needs to make three small incisions, no more than one centimeter wide, in the abdomen to allow for the passage of a laparoscope and other instruments to remove the appendix."

Wu said that a small catheter was still connected to an incision in Lu's abdomen. It would be removed three days later if everything went well. "We must be cautious not to infect the wound. Later in the day you may drink some water. If you have no problems drinking water, then you can have milk."

Wu said that if the traditional surgical method had been adopted, the wound caused by the operation would be as wide as five to six centimeters and it would take the patient longer to recover. "There are great advantages to laparoscopic surgery over traditional surgery."

The next day, Lu, accompanied by his wife, moved about outside his ward. "The union of technology and humane care--I can feel it here," he said.


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