Dr Lin Chin Lon, CEO Tzu Chi's Medical Mission-Taiwan, took time off his busy schedule to share with about a hundred of TIMA (Tzu Chi International Medical Association) members on the "Humanistic Value of Tzu Chi" at Kuala Lumpur Jing-Si Books & Cafe. All attendees were mesmerized by his sharing.
The humanistic value of Tzu Chi is clearly reflected in Tzu Chi's Medical Mission. Its Chief Executive Director, Dr Lin Chin Lon, pointed out that the main aim of Tzu Chi's Medical Mission is "to respect life and provide patient-centered medical care".
How to correlate 'medical professionalism' with 'humanistic value'?
During his sharing, which was conducted mainly in English, Dr Lin mentioned that as a medical professional, providing medical service could simply be just a process. However, along the process, we should practise professionalism not only based on our knowledge and experience, but also the transmission of 'humanistic value' of 'love and caring'. Only then can we be considered as 'real professionals'.
"In Tzu Chi, we pledge for all people who come to Tzu Chi to be comforted not only in their body, but also in their mind and spirit, like homecoming", Dr Lin spelled out firmly.
Health promotion is the best medicine
In ancient times, the main role of doctors was to treat disease, followed by a talk on disease prevention. Now, our aim is focused on health promotion to increase the quality of life and to assist the people to achieve optimum health.
There is a saying, "The best doctor is the one who promotes health rather than just treating disease". The World Health Organization defined health as "A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, rather than solely as absence of disease (WHO Constitution, 1946)"
From these two quotes, Dr Lin concluded that the ultimate goal of today's medical service is to promote health which can be channeled through love, caring and education. 'Health Promotion' is the best medicine discovered thus far.
Dr Lin discussed about Tzu Chi's six approaches in leading its Medical Mission. They include Environment, Community, Staff, Patient and Spirituality. Hospital is a place to grow spiritually. He said that an ideal hospital should have the '10Cs' in place, namely Convenient, Comfortable, Complete, Continual, Comprehensive, Compassionate, Conservation (of Environment), Cost effective, Community-oriented and Computer-based. All these elements can be seen in Tzu Chi Hospital.
There was an 'Interactive Session' which provided a golden opportunity for the attendees to discuss with Dr Lin regarding some medical ethical issues they have encountered in their daily practice. Dr Lin provided some insight on how to seek the balance between sense and sensibility in making a medical decision. Besides judging from the professional's point of view, the view point from the patient's side must also be taken into consideration to ensure the best option is chosen for the patient.
Dr Lin also shared on how he got involved in Tzu Chi's activities by giving up his well-established career as Superintendent Cardiologist in the United States. He was inspired by Master Cheng Yen and the way Tzu Chi puts Buddhism into practice. From the video sharing and some of the medical cases he dealt with after taking an active role in Tzu Chi for the past 16 years, it is clear that the humanistic approach used in Tzu Chi's Medical Mission had turned many grievances into joyous smiles; and those people needing help has become people who are able to give help in return. The power of love is simply amazing, and life is just beautiful.
Humanistic approach to relieve patients' suffering
In expressing his view after listening to Dr Lin's sharing, Dr Ong Boon Hock, a young Chinese Medicine Practitioner, said that "Tzu Chi Hospital is more concerned about love and caring when compared to other hospitals. There are many volunteers around to serve the patients in order to give the best care to them."
Dr Ong has been practicing as a Chinese Medicine Practitioner for 5 years. He joined TIMA in 2011 and has been providing consultation services at the Pudu Free Clinic, besides being involved in recycling activities and home visits to the handicapped centre in Kuala Kubu Baru, where he provides care and service to the unfortunate children. He considers himself lucky to have the opportunity to care for others; and as such, we should make the best of such opportunities.
Dr Ong admitted that when patients are dissatisfied with the treatment outcome, the doctor will normally take the blame. However, he agreed with Dr Lin that humans are not perfect and do make errors. The important point is to deliver a 'patient-centered medical care' by trying to achieve the best outcome in each case, weigh the balance between risks and benefits, analyze all related factors and available options, then only can the best choice for the patient be determined.
Dr Ong will now practise the humanistic approach in relieving patients from their physical and mental suffering, as highlighted by Dr Lin. He hopes to spend more time participating in Tzu Chi's activities and is looking forward to attend this year's TIMA Annual Conference in Taiwan.
Treating patient like treating own family
The former Director of Dental Service, Dr I. Venugopal, had been with Ministry of Health Malaysia for more than 35 years. Even though he has retired, he is still very passionate in serving the society.
Dr Venugopal has heard of 'Tzu Chi' from his colleague many years ago, but it was only last year that he met a Tzu Chi volunteer at the recycling centre near his house.
After a short conversation with the volunteer, he searched for 'Tzu Chi' via the internet and was surprised to learn that it is such an established non-profit organization. He then went to the Klang Free Clinic to have a look and had further discussion with another two volunteers. He knew then that there was a calling from within himself to join Tzu Chi in order for him to repay society. He immediately gave donations to Tzu Chi and agreed to serve in the free clinic on a monthly basis.
Ever since then, he has been actively participating in the medical outreach around Klang Valley area; and had once cooked a vegetarian meal for nearly 40 volunteers after his duty at the free clinic. He enjoys taking part in all these activities and feels happy to be part of the big family. In September last year, he joined the TIMA Annual Conference in Hualien, Taiwan, and felt so honoured to be able to meet Master Cheng Yen in person. It was indeed a fruitful trip for him.
"I can feel what Dr Lin feels. His decision to give up all the recognitions that he gained in the US and return to Taiwan to join Tzu Chi was simply because of the happiness that he found in Tzu Chi. The happiness which brings enrichment to the soul is more precious than everything else in the world; and this happiness can be pursued easily in Tzu Chi"
Dr Venugopal continued, "The 'patient-based medical care' that Dr Lin had emphasized on is actually my principle of service all this while. As a medical professional, we should treat the patient like our own family member. We just want to give the best for them'.
To give with joy
Professor Junaidah Sanusi is currently lecturing at the Medical Faculty, University of Malaya. She felt that the spirit of volunteerism is a subject that cannot be taught in the classroom. From Dr Lin's sharing, she could see that all volunteers in Tzu Chi share the same goal of creating a better world through the cultivation of love, caring and sincerity.
"Transcending religions and races, and to give with joy and selflessness, is very precious and deserves our respect. Tzu Chi's passion on humanistic approach towards patient care and medical practice is also very good to assimilate," she commented.
Prof Junaidah is aware of the Silent Mentor programme, which has just been introduced into University Malaya Medical Centre. She believes that it will be a great breakthrough in medical practice, as well as, in medical education.
Nearly a hundred medical professionals attended this event and they were mesmerized by Dr Lin's sharing on the "Humanistic Value of Tzu Chi".【Photograph by Lim Shy Tean】
The Interactive Session has provided a golden opportunity for the attendees to discuss with Dr Lin regarding some medical ethical issues that they have encountered in their daily practice.【Photograph by Lim Shy Tean】
"The happiness which brings enrichment to the soul is more precious than everything else in the world and this happiness can be pursued easily in Tzu Chi" said Dr Venugopal.【Photograph by Lim Shy Tean】
Dr Ong will now practise the humanistic approach used to relieve patients from their physical and mental suffering as highlighted by Dr Lin.【Photograph by Lim Shy Tean】
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