In Chinese history, many medical students have become famous for their outstanding literary works.
For example, Bi Shumin (20 years of experience as an internal medicine doctor), Bing Xin (studied medicine at Peking Union Medical College), Guo Moruo (studied medicine at Kyushu Imperial University in Japan), Yu Hua (formerly a dentist), Lu Xun (studied at Jinling University Medical School in Nanjing and Sendai Medical School in Japan), and Lin Zexu (a hero in the anti-smoking movement and traditional Chinese medicine practitioner).
On the international stage, there are also many medical students who have become shining stars in the literary world. For example, Arthur Conan Doyle (studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh, UK), known for his famous work “Sherlock Holmes,” and Anton Chekhov (studied medicine at Moscow University), known for his works such as “The Chameleon,” “The Duel,” and “The Death of a Government Clerk,” among others.
Dr. Wang Ruitao, an invited blogger on our Shanghai Trveller, is a surgeon working in Shanghai General Hospital，specializes in the research of thyroid and breast cancers. Dr. Wang, who is respected by patients in Shanghai, has a unique way of recording real-life stories during his medical aid trips to Qinghai through spontaneous poetry.
Here, we share two of his stories:
Video Story 1: Going to Lajia Town for medical aid in the countryside. Through the lens, we not only see the surprise of Qinghai’s plateau weather with an average temperature of zero degrees, but also witness the “Little Jiangnan” of Golog, the bustling construction projects, and the stories of predecessors who resolutely stick to their missions, lighting the fire of hope.
Video Story 2: Providing medical aid in Suo Huma Township, passing through the mysterious Nianbaoyuze, and the touching story of walking through the snow when the vehicle was blocked.
Medicine and literature are not mutually exclusive. Although there are many celebrities who have abandoned medicine for literature, such as Lu Xun and Yu Hua, there are more who possess both talents.
For example, Bi Shumin, a national-level writer and vice chairman of the Beijing Writers Association, has been engaged in medical work for 20 years, and many of her works are related to the profession of doctors. Her representative work is “Red Prescription.”
Guo Moruo, in 1918, entered Kyushu Imperial University School of Medicine in Fukuoka. While studying medicine, due to his own good foundation, he gradually came into contact with literary creation and dedicated himself to the new culture movement. “The Shepherd’s Lament” is his debut novel. Afterwards, he also wrote a collection of short stories called “The Black Cat and the Lamb.” In 1921, Guo Moruo’s poetry collection “Goddess” was published, making him one of the important pioneers of modern Chinese poetry. He did not give up his academic pursuits. In 1923, Guo Moruo obtained a Bachelor of Medicine degree.
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (Russia), after graduating from the Medical Department of Moscow University in 1884, practiced medicine in various places such as Zvenigorod, where he had extensive contact with people from different social classes and accumulated a profound life experience. During his university years, he once said, “Being a doctor is my profession, writing is just my hobby.”
As many people have said, authors with a medical background may have a sharper view of life due to witnessing too many life and death situations: “Through the experience of being a doctor, facing life and death multiple times, I may be more calm and indifferent in human affairs, not caring about any superficial phenomenon, because under the shadow of the scalpel, we need to intelligently see through the essence beyond the appearance. If we want to talk about the common traits among people with a medical background, I would say it is compassion.
Those who choose this profession, regardless of their appearance or attitude, instinctively dedicate thems5elves to saving patients as a professional duty.” It is precisely the talents and creativity of these medical students that allow them to showcase their extraordinary literary talents outside the field of medicine.
With their unique writing style, they outline the unique life experiences of medical students and reveal the wonderful commonalities between medicine and literature. Just as they do in the field of medicine, they use the power of literature to heal the souls of readers.