How a Japanese Eye doctor who called “The Man with Divine Hands,” got started his life sacrificing volunteer work in medicine in Vietnam?
“I can’t just stand by and watch people who are on the verge of losing their vision. I want to save their sight if possible using the skills I have,” “I only want to see my patients who have regained their vision smile. That’s all I want. I have no interest in either money or recognition.” says Dr. Tadashi Hattori.
A Japanese Eye doctor, Ophthalmologist Tadashi Hattori, who has treated over 10,000 people in Vietnam for free of charge. He has been called the “Miracle Worker” and “The Man with Divine Hands,” but I’d like to say he can be called “The man who with Divine heart”. Let’s take a look about what he’s doing.
The Sight Saver: Dr. Tadashi Hattori (Vietnam)
The fateful encounter of changing his entire life in 2001
It was while working for a hospital in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka in Japan that Dr. Hattori attended a symposium in Kyoto in 2001 and met a doctor from Vietnam who urged him to visit his country. “The doctor told me that there were many people in Vietnam who were so poor they couldn’t even have surgery to prevent them from becoming blind,” .
“After pondering what to do for four to six months, I decided to go, but the director of my hospital made it clear that if I wanted to go to Vietnam, I had to quit my job. And this is exactly what I did. Money is not the only important thing in my life. For many people, especially in my profession, status and money are everything, but for me, it’s much more important to do something worthwhile, even if I have to sacrifice myself.”
“It was my father that, before dying, told me to ‘live for the people, ” “Later on, one of my teacher taught me that a doctor should have not only the skills but also the heart. That’s why my motto is, ‘Treat your patients as your parents.“ says Dr. Hattori.
Dr. Hattori started his volunteer work in Vietnam in 2002
During his first visit to vietnam, which lasted a month, Dr. Hattori took note of what they needed in terms of equipment. His hope was to convince medical companies to help him by donating their instruments, but everyone declined.
People wait to be examined by Dr. Hattori. Many people come from remote villages to have Dr. Hattori examine them. Credit: HIROYUKI NAGAOKA
He even sought financial help from the Japanese government to buy the 5,000 to 6,000 dollars worth of equipment he needed, but he was declined due to the individual matter. The government would only support to NGOs.
He finally decided to buy those instruments himself out of his savings. “My wife at first balked at the idea of using our savings, which we were planning to use as a deposit to buy a flat we supposed to live. She refused to talk to me for three days, but eventually she said yes.“ That’s how I got started it.
Dr. Hattori has spend his earnings in Japan to his life sacrificing volunteer work in medicine in Vietnam for last 12 years
Dr. Hattori has divided his life between Japan and Vietnam for last 12 years. “I go to Vietnam every month except July and September. In the beginning I used to spend 180 days a year in Vietnam. The local doctors screen the patients in advance, so when we arrive we can concentrate on the surgeries, which we do all day long, usually from 7 to 10 or 11 p.m.
On Monday, Hattori comes back to Japan, and the next day he starts traveling around, visiting different hospitals all over the country. “When I first went to Vietnam 10 years ago I was jobless, but in time, through the help of friends and medical companies, and simple word of mouth, I’ve been able to build a network of public hospitals and private clinics that I visit regularly on a part-time basis.
Dr. Hattori eventually has launched $3M Hospital in Vietnam in 2014
In recognition of his contributions, Ministry of Health in Vietnam, awarded him with a people’s health insignia in 2007. He was also presented with a certificate of merit from the Japanese Foreign Ministry and chosen as a “Passion without borders Japanese” by the Cabinet Office in Tokyo in 2012.
Hattori & Dreams Partners Ltd. Co., which run by Japanese ophthalmologist Tadashi Hattori and partners, has received a license from authorities of Hanoi to invest $3 million in setting up an ophthalmology hospital in the capital city of Vietnam with five doctors and 15 nurses in August 2014.
Dr. Hattori eventually has made his dreams come true after 12 years of his life sacrificing volunteer work in Vietnam. This is the amazing story of a Japanese eye doctor who called “The Man with Divine heart.”