Caring Doctors in Stand TALL Project

It has been more than five years since the Wen Chuen Earthquake happened on 12 May 2008. The casualties caused by the devastating catastrophe posed threats to Sichuan medical system. Stand Tall, a comprehensive orthopaedic rehabilitation programme initiated in the wake of helping young amputees to live a better life and stand tall after rehabilitation, was founded by Prof. Kai-ming Chan, Professor of the Department of Orthopaedics & Traumatology, CUHK. The high table dinner on 12 March was graced by Professor Chan to share on the topic ‘Caring Doctors in Stand TALL Project’.

With staunch belief in people-oriented approach, Stand TALL has been tailor-making rehabilitation treatment for patients with limb trauma through community rehabilitation programme. Most of the patients have now resumed their school and social life, with their lives invigorated. Professor Chan played the rehabilitants’ video clips at the dinner, spelling out their inspiring fortitude. Hu Yue, age 17, lost her left shank in the quake. Having the high-performance prosthesis installed, she can walk and run. Hu Yue even clinched a gold medal in the National Games for the Disabled. Huang Li, an obstetrician, was buried in debris for 92 hours in the quake. Losing both legs and her left hand, she needs comprehensive care. She lives with courage because of her young son. Without enough money for prosthesis installation, Huang Li cannot practice obstetrics anymore. But she indomitably incepted Dujianyan ‘The Heart Starting Point’ Venture Centre for the Disabled, aspiring to help the disabled live with autonomy, to provide the physically-impaired job seekers with a platform for job matching and business venture.

Besides relieving the pain of the wounded, Professor Chan remarked that doctors should foster the medical system development. While implementing rehabilitation programme and training rehabilitation practitioners in mainland, Stand TALL discovered the key benefits to patients and practitioners by improving the inefficient human capital and resources allocation. They organized two summits, with officers of the Ministry of Health and rehabilitation experts invited, to discuss measures and draft proposals to optimize the national rehabilitation development. In 2008, Stand TALL obtained ‘Trust Fund in Support of Reconstruction in the Sichuan Earthquake Stricken Areas’ to roll out ‘Sichuan Hong Kong Rehabilitation Training and Development Centre’ programmes. The programme aims at equipping 1,000 Sichuan rehabilitation practitioners from different medical units with professional skills to provide sustainable care for the amputees and promote the development of rehabilitation. Until September 2013, the organization has trained 2,050 practitioners which is one fold of the original goal.

Professor Chan reflected that the journey as a doctor is rugged. As long as he took the first step to actualize our beliefs and assiduously cultivated his people-oriented belief, however, he could yield a sumptuous harvest. In 2012 and 2013, Stand Tall was recognized for their assiduous cultivation in international orthedaedics and international rehabilitation conferences. In the journey of rescuing and healing the wounded, Professor Chan found it satisfying to witness the patients resume most of their body functions and re-integrate with the society. Solid medical knowledge and experiences as doctors are crucial. Integrity and teamwork cannot be missed. But he believes that an unyielding persistence in realizing one’s belief in all circumstances is more important. Professor Chan was awarded the Humanitarian Award by the Chinese Orthopaedic Association (COA) in 2012 in recognition of his outstanding contribution.

With ‘Culture, Morals, Devotion, Trustworthiness’ as S.H. Ho College’s motto, S.H. Ho students are expected to cultivate cultural literacy, noble character, wholehearted devotion and integrity. The College highly encourages students’ to serve society and motivated students to join Stand Tall to visit Sichuan Provincial People’s Hospital and Dujianyan You’ai School in 2011. Apart from serving patients by providing clinical service, participants also became their life mentors encourage them to pursue a positive life. The Sichuan young amputees also visited S.H. Ho College and exchanged with students. It is more blessed to give than to receive. Not only our students experienced a meaningful service trip, the journey itself was also an important milestone in their personal growth.