Hsieh refused to accept the money, but Wu insisted, saying it was
a donation to help rebuild the hospital.
"I can convert my pig ranch into a new home," Wu assured him.
"I'm donating this money to the hospital reconstruction fund on
condition that you do not leave the hospital."
It seemed that this gesture gave wings to the efforts to restore
the service and other offers of help and donations began to flow in.
Hospitals in Changhua, Taoyuan, Yunlin, Tainan and other parts of the
country donated medical equipment and other items to help Show Chwan
Hospital resume operations.
Hwang Ming-ho, founder and chairman of the Show Chwan Hospitals
Group, donated a 130-ping prefabricated building, while two major
shipping companies, Yangming and Evergreen, rented the hospital 58
containers to be used as makeshift facilities.
On Nov. 1, 1999, the container hospital, believed to be the first
of its kind in the world, opened to the public.
It boasted eight clinics, two operating theaters, 34 beds, a
delivery room, a maternity ward, an examination room and an emergency
room. It also had a registration/triage center, waiting room,
pharmacy and various equipment necessary to deliver quality health
On Nov. 5, the first baby was delivered at the container hospital,
an event that was viewed as a sign of good luck.
However, Show Chwan could not continue indefinitely to operate
from a cluster of containers.
The question of whether the main structure of the damaged
hospital building could be repaired came up. After inspections and
assessments by structural and civil engineers and
geologists, it was determined that the hospital building could be
Work to reinforce the building proceeded smoothly. As each
section or floor was repaired, it was opened for service. The
restoration project was completed in July 2000 and the hospital was
reopened on the 26th of that month.
"We have made it," Hsieh and his staff exclaimed proudly at the
Looking back, Hsieh said, the 921 earthquake underscored the need
to make hospitals disaster proof.
"Major emergencies and disasters can be compounded if health
facilities fail... When a hospital collapses or its functions are
disrupted, lives that depend on emergency care can be lost," he said.
In the restoration of the hospital, Hsieh said, high-end
materials that can absorb seismic shocks were used to reduce the risk
of sudden collapse in the future.
In addition, the hospital now has well-maintained power and water
resources and has prioritized disaster emergency training for its
medical and paramedical staff, he said.
The hospital has also made efforts to develop a communication
network with other healthcare providers in the area so that a strong
support system is in place in the event of a disaster, Hsieh went on.
"Life is fleeting and ephemeral. One has to do things that make
one happy in retrospect," he noted.