No Security Deposit
Prior to inauguration, in Jan. 1985, Tzu Chi General Hospital began open recruitment. Disappointedly, only two dentists applied. Yang Sze-Piao, a member of the Tzu Chi General Hospital preparation committee and the superintendent of National Taiwan University Hospital (NTHU), and Tu Shih-Mien, the vice superintendent of NTHU, both believed that a cooperation education with NTHU was the only mean to secure enough doctors. With the help of Chen Kai-Mo, the director of NTHU’s surgical de-partment, Orthopedist Chen Ing-Ho agreed to come. However, the positions of attend-ing doctors for each departments remained vacant. The Hospital relied on rotations with the support of NTHU doctors to stay operational. On Aug. 1, 1986, the Department of Education approved the cooperation education between Tzu Chi Hospital and NTHU.
On the following day, Aug. 2, the Hospital held a pre-inauguration press conference, on which it announced the hiring of Tu Shih-Mien, the vice superintendent of NTHU and a specialist in otolaryngology, as the new superintendent, and Cardiologist Tseng Wen-Ping as vice superintendent, and the beginning of a two-week long free clinic, which ended on Aug. 15 and served a total of 7,200 people. During the press conference, the newly appointed superintendent Tu Shih-Mien briefed the organizational structure, fa-cilities, and operating principles of the Hospital, and proclaimed that “Tzu Chi General Hospital, after its inauguration, will abolish the long-standing security deposit system”.
On Aug. 17, 1986, 11 years and 3 months after Master Cheng Yen first shared her vi-sion with her disciples, Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital officially inaugurated. On Dec. 8 of the same year, the Department of Health (now known as the Ministry of Health and Welfare) notified all public hospitals and non-profit hospitals to abolish the security deposit system as of Jan. 1987.
The medical building of the first phase (now known as the Da Ai Building) had 250 beds and 11 specialist clinics. Two years into operation, the Hospital continued to struggle with staff drought. Chang Yao-Jen, Chen Hsin-Dean, and Chen-Jui-Hsia were the among first few doctors who heeded the call. On Aug. 1 1988, Chien Shou-Hsin, Kuo Hann-Chorng, Lee Jen-Jyh, Chao Shen-Feng, and Huang Lu-Chin from NTHU also joined, and these young doctors were a strong addition to the Hospital; Wang Pen-Jung, now the president of Tzu Chi University, also came to assist. In 1989, Wang Yin-Wei, Liu An-Bang, and Yang Gee-Gwo joined in May and July respectively. Yu Jzai-Chiu, Hsu Shih-Hsiang, and Hsu Yung-Hsiang in July 1990; Wang Ji-Hung, Pan Yong-Qian, and Kwong Sai-Tung in July 1991; and Lee Ming-Che later that August. All these doctors are now well respected in their own disciplines.
The predominant feature of Tzu Chi hospital—medical volunteers—was first imple-mented in Dec. 1, 1986, approximately 3 months after its inauguration. Formerly known as “Tzu Chi Service Team”, its members consisted of 150 medically trained Tzu Chi volunteers. The medical volunteers today have grew far beyond that number, acting as pillars for the Hospital staff. Their genuine sincerity has warmed the hearts of count-less patients and their families.