In 1882, when Protestantism came to Taicang City, Jiangsu province, from Shanghai, missionaries did not only preach the Gospel and build churches, but also vigorously developed various charitable undertakings, such as schools, presses, and so on.
Pastor Tai Fushi (Chinese name), a missionary from American Sabbath Day Baptist Church, attached great importance to the development of charity work when he came into Taicang City from Shanghai in 1888.
He started a smoking cessation clinic and a Christian elementary school in 1902, and then Huizhong Hosptial in 1906. Among all the charity organizations started by the American Rest Baptist Church, Huizhong Hospital is the longest serving, most famous and most influential.
Although it was not as good as Boxi Hospital located in the downtown area of Suzhou at that time, Huizhong Hospital was the first western hospital in Taicang, and was opened 17 years earlier than Taicang Private Hospital, the second western hospital founded by Jin Shuqin in 1923.
There were four directors, Tai Fushi, Bai Peilan, Kang Kelan and Fang Gan, in Huizhong Hospital since the date of its establishment to January 21, 1952, when it was taken over by the government. They were all foreigners, missionaries of the American Rest Baptist Church, who had medical skills and used their expertise for missionary medical activities in Taicang.
Pastor Tai Fushi, Founder of Huizhong Hospital
Pastor Tai was sent to Shanghai by the American Rest Baptist Church in 1880. He came to Taicang Liuhe Area to preach in 1888.
He rented a room in a house as a missionary station to conduct his missionary medical activities. Thanks to his excellent medical skills, he became famous. Later, he purchased a room for the villagers' cure and medical treatment. His medical service prospered there. After years of his effort, Huizhong Hospital was officially founded under the direction of Pastor Tai in 1906.
Through the petition letter he wrote to Taicang tongzhi Fu Zhenhai (tongzhi was an official title during the Ming and Qing Dynasties in China), he purchased a land of about 3400 square meters to build up a hospital and churches. They started the construction on the 18th of the first Lunar Month in the 32nd year of Emperor Guangxu.
Dr. Bai Peilan, Expander of Huizhong Hospital
Ms. Bai Peilan, Pastor Tai's daughter, was sent to Liuhe by the American Rest Baptist Church to start her medical mission in 1880, continuing what her father did. She was good at medicine and led the hospital towards stronger growth. Although Ms. Bai presided over churches and hospitals, she mainly focused on medical matters and Christian primary schools, especially the medical aspect.
Huizhong Hospital welcomed another important milestone in 1921 when Ms. Bai, with other colleagues, purchased another piece of land to expand the hospital to 9,900 square meters.
The institution was a two-story building. She served as the President, with an American doctor, Jane, as the assistant. They visited the patients from Mondays to Fridays and took part small worships on Saturdays. Later, Ms.Bai was forced to leave the hospital when the Qilu War affected Taicang in 1921.
Dr. Kang Kelan, Reconstructor of Huizhong Hospital
After 20 years of operation, Huizhong Hospital was destroyed by the Qilu War in 1924.
After the war, Dr. Kang, an American missionary, was sent to Liuhe by the American Rest Baptist Church to rebuild the destroyed Huizhong Hospital and other churches.
Ms. Kang rebuilt the hospital into a three-story western-style building from the rubble as the main building, and she served as the hospital director.
The hospital was equipped with advanced medical facilities and was renowned for pulmonary therapy, which attracted people from surrounding areas seeking for help.
After the reconstruction, the hospital operated safely for about 10 years.
However, in 1936, Anti-Japanese War broke out, and the hospital was again reduced to ruins. Medical services were also interrupted.
In 1945, after the victory of the Anti-Japanese War, Ms. Kang was sent to Liuhe again to take charge of the reconstruction of the hospital.
With the help and support of the U.S. missionary board, a total of 30 houses were built, covering an area of 1410 square meters, including 6 wards and 26 beds. Departments for Western Internal Medicine, Surgery, Gynecology, Orthopedics, Ophthalmology and Otorhinolaryngology, and so on, were established.
Every year, there were more than 7,000 outpatient visits, and over 500 inpatients. The main medical facilities were equipped with a 30mm X-ray machine, a microscope and so on.
Major Fang Gan, the last missionary director
In 1947, Ms. Kang Kelan died of illness in Shanghai. American Sabbath Day Baptist Church immediately sent Fang Gan (Chinese name), an American missionary and a former major in the navy, to come to Liuhe to take up her job. Being the chairman of the board in Huizhong hospital, he was responsible for the hospital and church affairs.
By 1949, the hospital had five doctors, including two American doctors, three nurses, five other staff and 30 beds. The hospital mainly focused on its pulmonary department, which accounted for 18 beds.
The hospital was expanded to about 10,005 square meters of land and 2,800 square meters of building area. The number of outpatient visits was more than 8,000, and inpatients more than 600. Added equipment included automobiles, motorcycles, diesel generators, etc.
-Translated by Sophia Chen