A memoir about the life of Lee Gil-yeo <길을 묻다>, president of Gachon University, was published on December 31.
President Lee Gil-yeo was born during the Japanese colonial period and enrolled in the medical department of Seoul National University during the Korean War. After studying in the U.S., she established Korea's first female doctor medical corporation and established Gachon University, the fourth-largest private university in the metropolitan area. In addition, she found the Gachon Gil Foundation, the largest public interest foundation in Korea that encompasses medical, education, culture, service, and media. What was the driving force behind Lee Gil-yeo's achievement?
<길을 묻다> is a memoir consisting of a two-year talk, and contains the history of the Gachon Gil Foundation, which President Lee Gil-yeo has cultivated for a century. It consists of a total of 11 chapters in chronological order, covering President Lee Gil-yeo's childhood, school days, the Korean War, studying abroad to the United States, working as an obstetrician, establishing a Gil Hospital, and opening Gachon University. One of the most notable of them is the episode of her study abroad in the United States, which has been a big turning point in her life. At that time, Korea had a very low level of medical services, so she had no choice but to go to the United States, which was the most prosperous countries in the world.
"Everything that was taken for granted in the United States in the 1960s were all shabby and miserable in Korea. Syringes, gloves, gauze, diapers, etc., used in hospitals in Incheon, were not compared to those in the United States in the first place. When I was in Korea, I boiled and reused gauzes and diapers until they became rags. The syringe was disinfected and reused by my mother and sister every night. The needle was ground on a whetstone and reused. But in Mary Immaculate Hospital, they just threw away once they have been used." -p.162
Her experience in the U.S. shocked her and gave her a determination to return to Korea and make Korea a medical powerhouse that does not lag behind the U.S. Her colleagues and professors all dissuaded her. For them, Korea was a dangerous and poor country that never knew when the war would break out again. Nevertheless, she returned to Korea, opened Lee Gil-yeo maternity hospital, and started providing free medical treatment. Without her determination, Gachon University would not be here today.
What we can learn from the president's story will be a spirit that does not give up and a spirit that challenges without being complacent. "Pinwheel doesn't spin unless it's windy." Lee Gil-yeo said. Just as a pinwheel turns only when the wind blows, only hardship and adversity move people. It is up to you to decide whether to fall when the wind blows or to make the wind as a driving force to train you.
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