Stories from Ancient China: A Virtuous Doctor

This story appears in an historical account of Chinese medicine. In ancient China there was a doctor who had extremely good medical skills and a noble moral sense. He saved numerous patients with serious illnesses and had prestige, fame, and was loved by the locals. One day, a person from out of town came to ask him to help his family member, who was seriously ill and whose life was in grave danger. Without saying anything, the doctor quickly got ready to leave. At this moment, he received the bad news that his son had been kidnapped by a group of bandits who demanded a ransom for his release.

The doctor was left in quite a dilemma. His choice was between saving a stranger and paying a ransom to save his son's life. He pondered for a moment and decided that it was his duty to save the person. He therefore went off to treat the patient who in turn was saved. When he returned home, exhausted, both physically and mentally, he was stupefied to find that his son was playing as if nothing had happened. He asked what had happened. He found out that, when the bandits didn't receive the ransom money, they came to investigate and found out that the doctor went to treat a patient who was seriously ill. So the bandits released his son.

The doctor conducted himself with dignity. Our forefathers not only stressed medical skills but also valued morality and high standards of conduct. Of course, bandits are forever to be condemned and cast aside. Here we are only to take the example of a moral act to elaborate on the principle that a doctor should always adhere to medical ethics and not be tempted by fame and wealth of this mundane world, especially self interests.

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