Elderly doctor gives hope and understanding to those in poverty
  • | | October 27, 2010 04:51 PM

An elderly doctor in the poor northern province of Thai Binh is earning praise from the community for providing free treatment to patients in poverty.

Doctor Pham Nhat Dinh
Doctor Dinh examines for poor patients

His small house is located on No.2 Lane in Vu Thu Town, Thai Binh Province, and is always crowded. It has become a familiar address to those in poverty over the past twenty years since Doctor Pham Nhat Dinh opened a clinic to help people for free.

Born in 1929 to a family where grandfather and father were all doctors, Dinh had been greatly influenced by the family’s tradition since a young age. He remembered following his father on an old bike around the region to cure sick people. His father’s kindheartedness taught him precious lessons and he decided to follow in his footsteps.

After high school, Dinh registered at two universities and studied both oriental and western medicine. With qualifications in hand, in 1956, he was sent back to his home district and appointed chief of the medical department.

Then in 1969, together with some other local medical experts, Dinh was sent to Laos to help cure injured soldiers. When he returned home, he had acquired many certificates of merit from the Laos government.

He went back to his poor hometown and from 1973, as director of Vu Thu General Hospital, doctor Dinh contributed greatly to the development of the only hospital in his district and helped to cure many people living in poverty.

Despite his great contributions, the doctor still yearned to do more. After he retired in 1991, Doctor Dinh had invested his savings in establishing a clinic where he provided free examinations and treatment for poor people.

“The very first thing a doctor should do is to understand the pain of his patients and then try his best to cure them,” Doctor Dinh shared.

From his view, it is easy to understand why he is just living a modest life after many years at his high position.

And it is also easy to see that he is respected and loved by so many people in his poor district. His small home clinic is also receiving poor patients from other provinces such as Phu Tho, Thanh Hoa, Tuyen Quang and more. He often has to arrange lodging and even transportation fees for these struggling patients.

According to Nguyen Van Linh, from the neighbouring Dong Hung District, he used to suffer from hepatitis but did not have money for hospital treatment. Fortunately, he knew doctor Dinh and came to him. “He understood my family condition and offered me the treatment,” Linh remembered. “I was so impressed by his kind heart. Without his help, poor patients like us may not have the chance to be treated timely. I am wondering how I can pay him back for his compassion.”

At his small clinic, Doctor Dinh gives priority to some groups of patients, including the disabled and orphans. The clinic on average provides free medical checks and treatment for thousands of patients every year.

At the age of 81, Doctor Pham Nhat Dinh is still very active in other social activities. He is a member of the local Red Cross Association and chairman of the district’s Old Doctors Club. He is also deducting his monthly pension for the district’s Study Encouragement Fund.

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