Compassionate “Confession” by a Doctor – Yes I stole Your Money

April 2, 2020 Trisha Han AcupunctureOriental Herbal MedicineUncategorized

This is the true story of an ancient Chinese doctor’s selfless act of kindness. Unfortunately I do not remember the doctor’s name or the time period in which he lived, so let’s just refer to him as the Doctor here.

He was a great doctor known not only for his excellent ability to cure various kinds of tough illnesses, but also for his compassion. Like most other ancient Chinese doctors, he would not charge patients for his services. Instead, after the illness was cured, rich patients generally gave doctors tips to show their gratitude. Poor patients, having no money, would give the doctors fresh fruits, vegetables, food, etc. to express their gratitude. So, the ancient doctors generally lived a poor and modest life; a good doctor would even feel ashamed if he lived a life of wealth and luxury in Ancient China.

One night, the Doctor heard someone knocking on his door, after he had just gone to bed after a full day of hard work. “Help, help…” someone was yelling.  Realizing it was an emergency, he immediately got up and opened the door. It was a young man in despair; he said his mother was dying and need the Doctor to go to save her life. Without any hesitation, the doctor rushed into the darkness with the young man.

At the patient’s home, the Doctor checked her pulse and felt that she had severe Liver Qi stagnation. “Has she been angry a lot recently?” the Doctor asked.

“Yes sir, this rebellious dog quarrels with his mother every day and made her very angry this morning by fighting her,” the woman’s husband replied while pointing at his teenage son.

The Doctor then quickly did acupuncture on the patient’s Ren Zhong, He Gu, Tai Chong, and Bai Hui points, and she woke up within half an hour.

“Is anger related to my mom’s illness?” the woman’s son asked the Doctor.

“Yes, your mother has a weak liver because of her quick-tempered personality.” The Doctor replied, “The recent wind, combined with severe anger, caused her to lose consciousness and slip into a coma.”

Then, he prescribed an herbal tea formula for her. “There are no big concerns. Please let her drink this herbal tea three times daily and she will recover completely within one month.”

The Doctor warned the young man before he left, “Please don’t make your mother angry again. Otherwise, she may be in deeper trouble”.

The next morning, when the Doctor was in the middle of giving a lesson to his apprentices, a woman was suddenly heard screaming outside his door. “You thief, return my money. What a hypocrite…”  He opened the door and collided with the woman he treated the night before. With bystanders gathering, the woman screamed: “You thief, you think I don’t know you stole my money? I had $50 under my pillow and it disappeared after you visited!” The Doctor studied her face for a few seconds without uttering a word. The woman became angrier and louder. “Give me back my money, you hypocrite! You don’t charge your patients money, but you steal! Now everyone knows you’re a thief”.

“Please don’t humiliate our master. He is not such a person,” the apprentices shouted to the woman. But surprising the Doctor waved at everyone to stop and said:  “Yes Madam. I did steal your money. I’m very sorry for that.” Then he asked one of his apprentices to get $50 from his drawer and give to the woman.

Everyone–the apprentices, his family and the bystanders–was shocked in disbelief and disappointment. They loved and respected the Doctor for his integrity and medical ethics. But now, everything had changed…

By the dusk, the Doctor still didn’t explain anything as he has been busy treating patients.  Several apprentices started packing and were about to leave. After all, who would continue to hang around with a thief?

Then, someone knocked on the door again. One of the apprentices opened it and saw a woman kneeling down – the same woman from before. “Doctor, please forgive me,” the woman cried, “You saved my life, but I destroyed your fame by calling you a thief in public. I found my $50 under my bed. Please forgive me!”

The Doctor walked toward her, helped her up and said gently: “That’s ok. Misunderstanding does happen. Please forget about that and go back to rest as you’re still weak. Don’t forget to drink your herbal tea timely.” Then the woman gave the $50 back to the Doctor, bowed to the Doctor again and again and left.

“Master, you didn’t steal her money. But why did you admit it?” His apprentices asked, puzzled.

“She was very weak and angry at the time. Any further anger would threaten her life,” the Doctor replied quietly, “I was only concerned about her health at that moment and there was no other way to calm her down.”

Years later, when the Doctor passed away, the people who attended his funeral lined up for miles long; many of them had walked for days from other cities to pay their final tribute to this great man.

I have to choke back my tears as the story ended here. Have you ever heard of anyone with such selfless compassion? Please reply if you do. Our society needs more stories like this.


ancient Chinese doctors storiesmedical ethicsselfless kindness

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