Sun, Dec 25, 2016 - Page 8 News List

Taiwan in Time: Healing and preaching

In an era of limited medical services and rampant malaria, missionaries like George Leslie Mackay doubled as doctors, not only curing people but converting many in the process

By Han Cheung  /  Staff Reporter

Along with treating malaria, Mackay also placed importance on dental work, as people were having problems due to malaria, cigar smoking or betel-nut chewing. He writes that he devised a gentler way of tooth extraction, personally extracting 21,000 teeth between 1873 and 1896.

His popularity increased quickly, from 1,346 new patients during the hospital’s first year in 1880 to 3,696 in 1890. The hospital closed after Mackay’s death in 1901, but reopened in 1907 before its move to Taipei.

And the effectiveness of his work? Mackay writes in his memoir, “Large numbers were cured during these 23 years, many more were relieved, and the services rendered made them much more kindly disposed toward the mission. Many became converts themselves, and their example told with their relatives and friends. The reflex influence of all this medical work cannot be estimated. The direct results in the conversion of patients cannot be told.”

Taiwan in Time, a column about Taiwan’s history that is published every Sunday, spotlights important or interesting events around the nation that have anniversaries this week.

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