Even with one of the world’s best medical systems, Taiwan still has people falling through its cracks. However, doctors like Dr. Shi Jingzhong from the National Taiwan University Hospital are doing everything they can to make a difference. Here is just one story of the problems, and what doctors are doing to overcome them.
During an ultrasound at the National Taiwan University Hospital, a pregnant woman was found to have a serious pregnancy condition called placenta accreta, which is considered a high-risk pregnancy complication. This occurs when blood vessels and other parts of the placenta grow too deeply into the uterine wall.
Usually, the placenta detaches itself from the uterine wall after childbirth; however, with placenta accreta, part or all of the placenta remains firmly attached, which can cause severe blood loss after delivery. It is highly likely that an early C-section delivery would be needed, followed by surgical removal of the uterus (hysterectomy).
When Dr. Shi asked if she had additional medical insurance, the pregnant woman broke down into tears and replied that they have no income and were only receiving the national pension. Her husband, who was standing by her side, was at loss, not knowing what to do.
Being a doctor, Shi felt that he could not let her leave and do nothing to help her.
Even though she could not afford to pay, he decided that the woman and baby must be saved.
Volunteers from other sections of the hospital, including the head of nursing, also gave their support and assistance where they could.
After the operation when both the woman and baby were safe, the pregnant woman’s husband tried to give Dr. Shi a red envelope (bonus cash). However, the doctor turned it down, saying:
“In Taiwan, you don’t have to do this. Besides, I make more than you.”
Dr.Shi explained in a Facebook post:
“I said that not because I wanted to brag about how much I make, but because I wanted him to be assured that we don’t treat patients just for money.”
He also wrote that because “you cannot afford to pay, you still deserve to be saved.” Dr. Shi’s post has had 357,000 likes, 33,956 shares, and 21,063 comment,s with most comments thanking him for helping the pregnant woman and her baby. He added in his post:
“Today’s operation was mostly volunteer work, and we cannot ask for reimbursement from the insurance company. This means that the hospital will have to pay for all the cost. However, I believe that our director will support me for doing so, because saving people’s lives is the right thing to do.”