Funeral held for Penghu doctor who devoted his life to patients

Taipei-A funeral service was held Sunday for Hou Wu-chung (???), a doctor who succumbed to pancreatic cancer Nov. 20 at the age of 55 after having provided medical services to underserved areas of Penghu for over 20 years.

The service was held at a cemetery in Penghu's Magong City.

During the ceremony, Presidential Office Secretary-General Joseph Wu (???) presented a presidential citation on behalf of President Tsai Ing-wen (???) to Hou, which was received by Hou's wife, Chen Hui-chuan (???).

In return, Chen handed a letter of suggestion to Wu, proposing that a Hou Wu-chung commemorative park and hall featuring his statue be established in Baisha Township and expressing hope that the government will place greater importance on improving medical care to the outlying islands of Penghu.

Hou served at the Baisha Township Public Health Center for more than 20 years and needed to regularly travel among the Penghu islands to provide medical services. However, after discovering that there were insufficient boats to meet his needs, he purchased two boats out of his own pocket, according to the letter.

Therefore, Hou's family suggested that the government provide subsidies to help increase the frequency of commuter ferry services to allow residents in underserved communities to receive medical services.

His family also called for an upgrading of public clinics on some of the islands to the level of public health centers to allow more staff to be employed.

After graduating from Kaohsiung Medical University in 1987, Hou returned to Penghu in 1991 and since then, spent most of his time serving the outlying islands of Wang'an, Qimei and Baisha.

During his medical career, Hou also acted as coroner and the head of a chronic disease prevention and management program in Penghu at a time when medical professionals were understaffed. In 2002, he was the youngest-ever recipient of a Medical Contribution Award jointly given by the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Health, Welfare and Environment Foundation.

During Sunday's funeral, Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Hsueh Jui-yuan (???) conferred a first-grade service medal on Hou, while Kaohsiung Medical University presented a Distinguished Alumni Award to him.

The ceremony gathered more than 500 people to pay their respects to Hou, among the most notable of whom was 88-year-old Chen Chuan-ting (???), who came from Baisha's Dachang Island amid strong northeasterly winds and arrived during the final portion of the ceremony.

Chen said that Hou treated him more like his family than a patient over the past 20 years and that he was grateful to the doctor.

Hou's son said he was proud of his father for what he did for his patients, saying that he did not understand when he was very young why he could hardly see his father until he grew up and realized the care and excellent services his father provided to those in need.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel