Day 11: Zhenjiang Riverside Hospital Group

I’m playing a bit of catch-up in chronicling our journeys, as it is now Saturday morning in China and we’re on the last of four consecutive days of presentations. As I write this we’re in a VW van, driving from Nantong to Lianyungang, where we will do our final lectures of the trip this afternoon. It’s about a 3-hour drive, so I’m taking advantage of my mobile hotspot and enjoying the scenery as I write.

On Thursday our stop was at Zhenjiang Riverside Hospital Group, and we stayed at the Crowne Plaza hotel which is right across the street from the Yangtze River. This was our last multiple-night hotel, as we drove to Zhenjiang after our dinner with the Nanking Drum Tower Hospital leaders.

Name in LightsThe hospital in Zhenjiang gave us a warm welcome, as has been the case at all of the hospitals in China, but this was the first time we had our name in lights.

After a brief discussion with the hospital leaders we gathered for the customary group photo.


Dog ChairAfter our lecture we went to a different hotel for our formal dinner, where one of the chairs in our banquet room was quite interesting. Each of the arms was in the shape of a greyhound, with the dog on one side laying down while the other was sitting up.

While many of the dinners have used the rotating inner circle table to deliver the food, this time we had a plated dinner, with many different plates and bowls brought to us. The presentation of the food was elegant:

Food presentation

The let’s-see-if-we-can-gross-out-the-American offering for the day was snake soup. I’m sure my daughter Rebekah will be horrified, but I did eat it.


We also had shrimp from the Yangtze River:


The next morning Wen Feng and I got up early for a run on the banks of the Yangtze…


…but because of rain we had to cut it short and finish our workout on the treadmill in the hotel.


Another great day in China.


Day 10: Nanjing Drum Tower Hospital

On Wednesday we visited a very impressive hospital in Nanjing called Nanjing Drum Tower Hospital, which is the affiliated hospital of Nanjing University Medical School. This hospital was founded by a Canadian Christian missionary, Dr. William E. Macklin, and is now 124 years old. So it’s close to the vintage of Mayo Clinic.

With Dr. HANThe original four-story outpatient facility, built in 1892, is still standing. That’s where we met with the hospital leaders for an interesting presentation about its history. The current president, Dr. Guangshu HAN, was born in this hospital and was inspired by his parents’ examples, who also were leaders in the hospital’s development. It was obvious he is moved by the selfless love of the missionaries who founded and served in the hospital.

HIstorical SuiteAfter the presentation we toured the hospital’s historical suite, also within that building, which was renovated in 2006 and renamed Drum Tower Hospital Memorial Hall. It reminded us very much of a combination between the Plummer Building Historical Suite and Mayo Clinic Heritage Hall in the Mayo building in Rochester. Our tour guide spoke flawless English and did a great job of bringing the museum to life.

During my visit I’ve also gotten a refresher on Chinese history, some things I perhaps had learned in high school or college but which had not been as vivid as they are now. One was the Sino-Japanese War, or what the translators have called the Anti-Japanese War, and the Nanking Massacre (also called the Rape of Nanking).

Rape of NanjingDuring my museum visit I snapped photo from one of the Western physicians’ diaries, recounting the stories of what happened as he and several others stayed behind to treat the wounded while sending their families away to safety. I captured the photo so I would be able to read the diary later, and was surprised that in the Wikipedia article linked above, a portion of that diary page was quoted verbatim. Click the image to read, but be warned that it’s gruesome.

Lee Kent HAN MacklinAfter the historical tour we visited the hospital and its beautiful facilities, but stopped along the way for a photo with the statue of Dr. Macklin. During our initial discussion with Dr. HAN he mentioned that their hospital had a piano in the central courtyard, and that volunteers regularly played music there for a pleasant diversion. That fit very well, of course, with my closing story about Mr. and Mrs. Marlow Cowan. So as we continued the tour he made sure we got to see and hear their piano.

Lee at Piano

Day Nine: Exploring Nanjing

Tuesday was a travel day, and we arrived at the Celebrity City Hotel in Nanjing in the late afternoon. Nice view and a nice room:

Hotel Window in at Celebrity Hotel

Hotel Room

Then we went exploring, visiting a Confucian temple, where I continued my practice of having my picture taken with replicas of famous Chinese people:


Finally, we had dinner at the Nanjing Opera House, where I experience a new kind of dinner theater:

Nanjing Opera


Now we have three straight days of hospital tours and presentations. Should be an intense but enjoyable experience: long and interesting days.


Day Eight: Zhangjiagang

As I write this we are driving from Zhangjiagang to Nanjing, where we will have a tour in the morning and afternoon presentations tomorrow. Because I was traveling here for two weeks, I bought the 800MB data plan (with reduced cost for voice calls), and while I’m over half done with the trip I have only used about 12oMB. So I might as well write now instead of waiting for the hotel wifi.

Stephanie and NBA FinalsYesterday I started by watching the first half of Game 7 of the NBA Finals in my hotel room, but we had to leave for our morning discussion and tour with about 5 minutes remaining in the third quarter. Thankfully our interpreter, Stephanie, had a more economical data plan and let me watch the game on her phone during our 15-minute ride to the hospital.

Walking Tour of HospitalWe had an excellent discussion at The First People’s Hospital of Zhangjiagang with leaders from the various specialties, as well as some younger doctors and nurses. Then we had a 30-minute tour of the facilities, including the telemedicine capabilities they use for about three cases per day currently.

At the end of the tour, we had the customary group photo with the hospital leaders:

First People Hospital Leaders

The man on the far right’s English name is Gordon, who studied for one year at Cleveland Clinic and therefore became a Cavaliers fan. At dinner the evening before we had talked about the Warriors-Cavs matchup and he asked if I wanted to bet on the outcome. During our group discussion I had gotten text updates from my son Joe on the progress of the game, so I told Gordon I was glad to not have accepted his challenge.

After a brief rest at the hotel, during which time Kent was reunited with his suitcases which had missed our flight from Beijing, we headed back for the 2 p.m. lectures. I believe this was the largest crowd of the tour so far (about 400 people), because it included representatives from 30 other regional hospitals, as well as 200 people from our host organization.


After our presentation, we had the customary gift exchange, and both the hospital president and the audience were pleased at the thought of receiving a pen made from wood that had its origins in a seedling once held by Dr. Charlie Mayo:

Gift Exchange

This was the fifth of our nine sessions, and a week from now I should be sleeping in my bed at home. It’s been a great adventure and I’m thankful for the opportunity.

Day Seven: The Great Wall and a Great River

We left Chengde early on Father’s Day, June 19, to go to the airport in Beijing for our flight to Nantong. On the way to the airport, we visited The Great Wall at Jinshanling, which was spectacular.

We took the tram most of the way to the peak (the hike would have taken about two hours) and then began our ascent to the Wall. It was interesting that we felt compelled to take pictures along the way because the sight was so amazing, even though we knew it would be even better when we got to the top.

Here’s just one sampler. I’ll put more on Facebook later:

Lee at Great Wall

Update: After our Great Wall adventure, we had lunch at the Chinese equivalent of a country diner, with President Xi and his wife looking on:

Dinner with the President

Then we rushed to the Beijing airport for the nearly two-hour flight to Nantong. Then it was 90-minute drive to our next city, which included my very first ferry ride, on the Yangtze River, the the third-longest river in the world. It’s also plenty wide.

Yangtze river ferry