“Dr. Ding, I feel my tuberculosis is getting better, but I am still getting a lot of night sweats and cold feet.”
Dad felt the patient’s pulse, checked his tongue, and wrote the herbal prescription. After the patient left, I wrote the diagnosis for my dad. I was 13.
To this day, I still remember the details of following my dad to the hospital and watching him treat patients for the first time. That entire summer experience was a memorable reminder of why I decided to become a TCM doctor.
The Shanghai Longhua Hospital is deeply connected to the Ding family because my great-great-grandfather, Ding Ganren founded it, and the 3 generations after him continued to assume important roles in the hospital, serving in the capacity of Head Physician and the Executive Board. As the 5th generation heir, everyone is wondering what I’m going to add to this amazing family legacy.
After spending an entire summer at the hospital shadowing dad, I gained a new perspective of what being a medical doctor is about. It’s not just the responsibility of treating patients, but the craftsmanship that creates the doctor-patient relationship. Dad not only has a respectably long history of serving in the hospital, but he also carries a good reputation as a friendly and effective doctor to his patients, a supportive colleagues to his co-workers, and a knowledgeable teacher to his student-interns.
Though I’ve earned my stripes as a Doctor in the U.S, Dad’s colleagues and my old classmates still call me “Xiao Ding” (Little Ding) when I visit them at the Hospital. In my most recent visit, they joked that soon enough dad will retire because “Xiao Ding can now take over the ‘job’.” I smiled, nodded, and continued tagging along with dad to see our next patient.