Home>Service> Global Love of Lives Award> 7th Fervent Global Love of Lives Award> Dr. Brightness—Su Chien-Ming
Transcend the darkness; share the promise
      Su Chien-Ming was born 1962 in Tainan; currently as an adult psychiatrist in Taipei City Psychiatric Center, he is the only physician nationwide who is completely blind and has the qualification of civil servant. Dr. Su had normal eyesight as regular people at birth. He completed studies in Kaohsiung Medical University, College of Medicine, got medical license and passed qualification examination of public physician fifteen years ago when he was 27 years old. During a life stage full of energy and dare, he was struck by an accident and lost his eyesight of both eyes completely.

      Life has unexpected turns as if thunderbolt from a clear sky. Being model teachers, his parents Su Chien-Hsiung and Chen Su-Ching made all efforts to care for him with a thread of hope that miracle would happen so that their son would regain his eyesight. Although their wish did not come true, they were grateful at least he was alive.

      Another setback again gave him a terrible blow that his dream becoming an internist vanished and the public physician qualification was canceled. After petition and re-petition, his public physician qualification was reinstated when Mr. Kong De-Cheng, a descendant of Confucius, was appointed Chairman of Examination Yuan; however, there was not a single public hospital accepting his assignment. To find another option, he passed the entrance examination of National Kaohsiung Normal University, Graduate Institute of Special Education, hoping that he could become a special education teacher. When studying in graduate school, he pled and self-recommended for the determination of becoming a doctor. Hu Wei-Heng, the director of Taipei City Sanatorium, made an exception and gave him a post in the hospital as a doctor in psychiatry department. For six years, Dr. Su has been extraordinarily competent on the job of being a psychiatrist and his performance has earned people’s respect. In addition to establishing good doctor-patient relationship, he treats mental patients with consideration and makes them feel at home, which improves patients’ condition; and thus Dr. Chien-Ming’s reputation is well-known in the field of psychiatry. 

      “I remembered I was walking on a 10-meter-width road and there was a medium-size fork-lift truck carrying a six-meter-long steel plate. As soon as I passed the street in such coincidence, my eyeballs were cut head-on by the steel board on the fork-lift truck across street. The world suddenly went dark and I tried to figure out what happened by opening my eyes but I could not”, while recollecting the accident, Dr. Su peacefully described. Then, without knowing his eyeballs had broken, he only felt blood come out of his eyes instead of feeling pain.

      Misfortune never comes alone! When Dr. Su hospitalized and had emergency operation, he was having complications of meningitis and infection in central nervous system which caused intracranial pressure and unconsciousness. After eight hours of joint efforts from surgical doctors of ophthalmology and plastic surgery, Dr. Sue admitted that he did not think of being totally blind at that moment. The first movement he made after surgery was waving in front of his eyes in the hope that he could see shadow of some kind to ensure there was at least a chance; yet, he did not see anything. People around him tried to comfort him, saying the thick gauze kept him from seeing. In the following months, Chien-Ming took every possible medical advice and alternative treatment; everything failed. It only took Dr. Sue several months to accept the fact of being totally blind. However, it is quite different between” to accept the fact “and “to keep on living the life” because people need longer time to adjust mental status in the latter case. 

      While he was struggling with his destiny and ready to return home for recovery, a friend of his father’s came to pick him up from the hospital. Riding on the car and listening to Buddhist music, he felt depressed all of a sudden. At that moment, he thought of death. Living in a world of darkness, Dr. Su started to ponder his future from the perspective at the end of human life—death. “I have never thought of suicide but I can feel the existence of death now; if there is a miracle that I can have my eyesight back, death is still unavoidable for me some day! How to live a life so worthy without wasting the time 

      An accident brought Dr. Su two kinds of emotion; the negative one is that: he has to learn from the very beginning the basic skills in everyday routine; at the same time, this incident is like a pavilion along the life journey where one can take a break and recuperate. “I could hardily get a chance to examine my life.” Dr. Su considered this accident as an opportunity for him to look back at the life in the past twenty or thirty years. He also spent a great deal of time exploring the meaning of life and how to continue for future’s sake. 

      Dr. Su had always been a model student who had good grades at school. From Tainan County Zhong-Ying Elementary School, Li Ming Junior High School, National Tainan First Senior High School to Kaohsiung Medical University, being one of the top students, he was excellent both in studies and character. As soon as he graduated from school, he passed the examination for medical license and public physician qualification. Especially, he is the eldest son who usually gets the attention from entire family; his family cared for his daily routine and he always took for granted. After the accident when he intended to achieve something in the real world and run against obstacles everywhere, he suddenly realized there was cruel reality in life that he had to face. “People who are blind or acquired physical-disabled will magnify their quality or shortcomings. It is actually a chance for transformation.” Being a psychiatrist, Dr. Su self-analyzed and began to take a real good look at the past, particularly his habitual dependency. 

      In order to live independently, Dr. Su finally decided to face the reality and went to Institute for The Blind of Taiwan; he learned how to walk, orientation training (differentiate the position of east, west, south and north), how to take care of daily routine. “When people rely too much on the environment, they would easily get unhappy once there is change of condition.” Dr. Su used to set terms for the environment around him; for example, the air-conditioner is a must-have, seeing makes him happy. An accident waked him up and made him realize the real happiness comes from within. “I discover the power of hope from desperation”, Dr. Sue shared his experience of finding promise and hope. 

      Dr. Su has been through a lot for being a psychiatrist. At first, the Taipei City Sanatorium did not think he could really do the job; they had concerns for a complete blind psychiatrist because there are problems including emergency situation when the mental patients become violent, possible mistakes without visual diagnosis, and most importantly whether there are patients willing to see a blind doctor. 

      A psychiatrist who has acquired visual impairment, Dr. Harman David, came to Taiwan and gave a speech; he mentioned some people would worry that how a blind psychiatrist deals with violent patients. Dr. Harman David said: “Violent behaviors come from their defense mechanism when they feel threatened. How would they feel threatened if you are blind” Dr. Su kept this in mind and proved it worked because he became a well-known and the most popular psychiatrist. “Dr. Su is a patient man. Although the time is up, he would let me finish what I want to say. He listens to me and waits till I calm down”, a patient described. 

      He regularly volunteers to help people in psychotherapy. If patients insisted on paying him, “Dr. Su would recommend donating to charity” another patient continued. In addition to medical work, he also invests time and effort in education for people with acquired visual impairment. Being a volunteer worker, he helps patients of serious and terminal conditions, and cares for their relatives; he also joins children bible study class, provides guidance for new volunteers and attends religious choir. “Singing does not require vision”, he says. Although he is single, he is interested in children education and educational reform; he also shares his life experience with people in various activities at school, organization and for media.