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Mission in 1877
April 28, 2008, Xiamen celebrated
the 110th anniversary of Hope Hospital, which was started on Gulangyu
Islet (Kulangsu) by Dr. John Otte of the
American (Dutch) Reformed Mission (RCA).
The city unveiled a new statue of Dr. Otte
in front of
the new hospital in nearby Jimei, and the post
office issues a special series of Hope Hospital stamps, with Dr.
Otte's photos on some!
hope to add a history of
Hope Hospital soon, but for now, please accept this excerpt from the Dr.
John Otte pages, which I have adapted from one of my books, Discover
Were You born at Hope Hospital? I have received
e-mails from several people born at Hope in the 20s and 30s, including
Joan Hill(May 15, 1923), Dr. Roger
Koeppe,(May 2, 1922), Mr. John Anderson
(whose parents married in the beautiful stone
church in Fuzhou), etc. If you were
born in Hope, please send us photos, and your story! Muchas
Xie Xie! Dr. Bill
Hospital (#82 Guxin Rd, Gulangyu)
Dr. John Otte built Hope Hospital after returning
from his U.S. furlough, and as with his first hospital, Neerbosch
(in Zhangzhou, birthplace of Lin
Yutang), he both designed the hospital and helped build it himself.
Otte initially considered refurbishing
the English Presbyterian Hospital, which was on ARM land and had closed
in 1894, but repairs would have been too costly, and a foundation for
a new building on the site would have required costly pilings. At the
suggestion of the American Consul General, Otte selected a site at the
base of Swallow Tail Mountain (Yanweishan Hezai).
While Chinese had opposed Otte’s Sio-khe
hospital, his opponents on Gulan-gyu
were foreigners, who feared patients would bring disease to their exclusive
foreigners appealed all the way to Peking and Washington, D.C., but without
success, and in the end Otte mollified them with the promise of special
hospital rooms for foreigners and wealthy Chinese.
described Hope Hospital, which opened April, 1898:
“Hope Hospital is a substantial two story brick structure, situated
on the water’s edge, and at high tide, surrounded on three sides
by water. It con-tains a chapel, dining room, kitchen, two servants’
rooms, office, dispensary, dark room for eye work, four student’s
rooms, and seven wards, in which are forty-five beds.”
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Raises the Roof!
Otte personally laid the hospital roof to
ensure it was done right! He wrote,
“It took me two weeks of hard work, but finally it was all done
and then I simply crowed. You ought to have seen me when at work. I
was covered from head to foot with sticky asphalt. Even my baby, when
she came with her mother one day to the hospital
said, ‘This is not my papa.’
“…Sometimes right in the midst of my work I would be called
out on a serious case. Then I would hurriedly wash my hands in kerosene,
change my clothes, and go to the case. Think of having to operate on
the eye under such circumstances.”
On the day of Hope’s
dedication, Otte laid the cornerstone for a women’s hospital named
after Queen ilhelmina because the initial $2,518 in funds and $800 for
maintenance came mostly from Dutch supporters, who created the “Netherlands
Society for Building and Maintaining Missionary Hospitals in China.”
Hope’s “first come, first served” policy meant that
many patients spent the night on the street to make sure they received
a coveted bamboo entry slip. In 1900, Otte had over 10,200 patient visits
to the two hospitals, treated 1,206 in-patients, performed 631 operations
and extracted 155 teeth.
Otte was keen on training Chinese in medicine,
but only three students survived his severe examinations and hands-on
practice for the first graduation in 1893. It was a tough program, but
the waiting line of students never ended, and Otte’s
legacy of medical training continued even after his death, when Hope Hospital
started South Fujian’s first nursing
school in 1926.
Memorial A busy man, Otte still found time to pursue architecture
as well—but he contracted the plague from a patient and died in
1910. [Click here to read the very
moving "Otte's Last Ten Days"].A
monument erected by Otte’s students was
destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. The foundation and stone are
now behind the former Pulmonary Hospital, which is just off the Gulangyu
Ring Road past the U.S. Consulate. The inscription is in Dutch, English
(barely legible), Chinese and Latin.
Hope Hospital was slated to be razed about 2005, but it is now being renovated
and will be a museum. And not only does the Otte Memorial still
stand but a new hospital in Jimei has a statue of Dr. Otte in front!
Help the "The Amoy Mission Project!"
share any relevant biographical material and photos for the website and
upcoming book. All text and photos will remain your property, and
photos will be imprinted to prevent unauthorized use.
Bill Xiamen University MBA Center
Snail Mail: Dr. William Brown
Box 1288 Xiamen University, Xiamen, Fujian
Fujian Sites Fujian
Foto Album Xiamen
Letters New: Amoy
Last Updated: October 2007
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