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Doctor helps scoliosis patients stand tall

Jiang Xingguang

(en.nhfpc.gov.cn)

Updated: 2017-02-13

"Each time I see a patient who can stand on his own feet, I feel very happy. When one of them gains normal ability, a disabled person disappears in China."

That's what Liang Yijian said at the award ceremony of the 2016 "Touching China" -- an annual program aired on China's state broadcaster, which praises ordinary Chinese people who have made big contributions to the development of the country.

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Liang Yijian, an orthopedist from No 3 Hospital in Chengdu, talks with a TV host at the award ceremony of the 2016 "Touching China" on Feb 8, 2017. [Photo/Xinhua]

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Liang Yijian, an orthopedist from No 3 Hospital in Chengdu, at the ceremony of the 2016 "Touching China". [Photo/Xinhua]

Liang is an orthopedist from the No 3 Hospital in Chengdu, Southwest China's Sichuan province.

He has treated more than 1,000 patients with severe scoliosis, or curvature of the spine. Scoliosis is classified as a severe condition, and is potentially damaging to a patient's lungs and heart.

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Doctor Liang Yijian inserts metal bars into the body of one of his patients who suffers from scoliosis at No 3 Hospital in Chengdu, Sichuan province. [Photo by Wang Bo/people.com.cn]

Liang inserts metal bars into the body of patients to form a brace that helps straighten their backs. In this way, he has treated many patients who were told by other hospitals that there was no cure.

As many of the patients are from rural and less developed areas, unable to afford the costs, Liang has helped raise money for their treatment.

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Doctor Liang Yijian adjusts the mode of traction for one of his patients at No 3 Hospital in Chengdu, Sichuan province. [Photo by Wang Bo/people.com.cn]

Since 2014, Liang's team has been cooperating with non-profit foundations and has collected five million yuan ($ 728,000) for nearly 200 patients.

"Seeing you is just like seeing light. Yes, just like the light of rebirth," said Xu Fenglian, one of Liang's patients, who called doctor Liang "father Liang". 

In Xu’s eyes, doctor Liang is nice, warm and patient to all those he treats, just like her own father.

Liang was born into a coal mining family in Chongqing. His father was injured numerous times in mining accidents before dying from a brain tumor when Liang was just 11. These early experiences encouraged Liang to become a medic.

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Doctor Liang Yijian observes the CT photograph for one of his patients at No 3 Hospital in Chengdu, Sichuan province. [Photo by Wang Bo/people.com.cn]

He graduated from the Chengdu Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine in 1986 and has been an orthopedist for 30 years. 

"Out of every 1,000 Chinese, three suffer from curvature of the spine," Liang said. 

"Most of them live in rural and less developed areas with limited access to information. When they eventually seek treatment, they are often already very sick." 

Treatment for scoliosis is most successful when performed on juveniles. However, many of Liang's patients are aged 20 to 30. 

For Liang, it is his patients' desire to survive and lead a normal life that inspires him.


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Link: China's Central Government / World Health Organization / United Nations Population Fund / UNICEF in China

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