Sun Tongjiao, an expert on hepatobiliary diseases, has worked to integrate Chinese and Western medicine in China.
The 94-year-old worked in Southwest Medical University.
Left: Sun Tongjiao in the late 1950s
Right: Sun Tongjiao chats with a patient who came to visit her at her home in Luzhou, Sichuan Province, on June 23 this year.
In 1928, Sun was born in Fengxian, Jiangsu (now part of Shanghai).
After seeing the wounded and the sick lacking medical care during the chaos of war, Sun was determined to devote herself to medicine.
She graduated from the Medical School of Nanjing University in 1953. Sun was assigned to work in Nanchang.
To support her study of Western medicine, Sun came to Luzhou, Sichuan Province, in 1955.
In 1956, Sun went to Beijing to study Chinese medicine. To improve the backward situation of Western medicine in western China, Sun gave up the chance to stay in Beijing, and returned to Luzhou.
She established the Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine at Luzhou Medical College (now Southwest Medical University). She also treated patients at the Affiliated Chinese Medicine Hospital of Southwest Medical University.
After retirement in 1998, Sun, in her 70s, still worked on treating patients in the hospital twice a week.
In 2017, because Sun was 89 years old, the hospital mandated her to limit her treatment to 15 patients only.
However, as long as there were patients asking to see her, Sun would always agree.
In the two decades after her retirement, Sun has treated nearly 70,000 patients.
Sun often lends money to patients to get medicine.
In fact, she didn't expect the patients to pay her back at all.
Out of gratitude, patients' families give her gifts, but Sun avoids accepting them.
She is very patient with every patient. Sun always answers patients' inquiries.
Some young doctors got a little impatient when they had to answer repeated questions from a patient's family.
Sun, who is usually amiable, says, "How can you do this to a patient?"
Her students say, "She is nice to patients, no one else is better than her."
In the early 1980s, Sun Tongjiao (right) communicates with students.
While treating the sick, Sun also teaches students.
Sun has fostered more than 10,000 outstanding doctors.
(Compiled by Dong Feng)