In 1876, the Reformed Church in America (RCA) sent missionaries to preach in Xiaoxi (Pinghe County), Zhangzhou, southern Fujian Province. Its medical missionary Dr. Johannes Abraham Otte spent 1,800 dollars to design and build Neerbosch Hospital which was named after a Dutch town that donated money for the hospital.
The hospital was opened on March 5, 1889. Dr. Otte saved many patients. He wrote, "All classes came: the well-to-do and the beggar; the proud scholar; the attaché of the Mandarin as well as the untutored toiler of the soil... In the first three months of operation, 1,500 different patients visited the hospital and received treatment 7,000 times."
In 1895, he designed and directed the hospital's expansion. It was expanded with departments covering internal medicine, surgery, ophthalmology, dentistry, gynecology, and clinical laboratory. The bed capacity of wards increased to 45, but the hospital failed to meet the demand of 70 to 80 inpatients.
In 1908, it was rebuilt. It had three buildings, the middle of which had a chapel, a consulting room, an ophthalmology room, a pharmacy, an operating room etc. Wards were separated based on gender. There were also isolation units for infectious patients. Lin Wenfeng was introduced by Rev. Lin Zhicheng, the father of Lin Yutang, to work in the chapel as a full-time preacher.
The statistics of the hospital in 1913-1914 showed that it had performed 534 surgical operations, 107 eye surgeries, 19 gynecological surgeries, and 358 dental surgeries. It gave 129 immunization shots and 33 shots against smallpox.
Apart from medical treatment, missionaries like Dr. Otte, Dr. Conrad Otto Stumpf, Dr. John H. Snocke, and Dr. Richard Hofstra contributed a lot to cultivating medical talents. Their students acquired medical knowledge concerning anatomy, physiology, therapeutics, pharmaceutics, general chemistry, analytical chemistry, and outpatient minor surgery. After graduation, some students worked in the hospital and many became famous local doctors. The training program came 40 years earlier than the foundation of Fujian Provincial Medical Vocational School in 1937.
In 1897, the Ottes returned to the United States for a furlough and raised around 10,000 dollars. The next year, they were back at Gulangyu, Xiamen, Fujian. The next April, Hope Hospital, the first integrated hospital at Gulangyu, was completed. Dr. Otte was the president.
After Pinghe County was liberated, the Neerbosch Hospital was renamed Pinghe County Hospital. It now has a twelve-story outpatient ward building with a construction area of over 40,000 square meters (9.88 acres) and an inpatient building with 600 beds. With a professional technical team of about 600 people, it can carry out large and medium-sized operations.
- Translated by Karen Luo