The integration of TCM and Western Medicine and integration of Sports and Medicine are our feature.
Healing with Benevolence
In his career spanning over 27 years, Prof. Li Xugui has been staying true to his original aspiration as he turns from a surgeon to a president. Wuhan Orthopedics Hospital of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine has also turned from a Grade Ⅱ hospital into a Grade Ⅲ- A Orthopedics Hospital and the Affiliated Hospital of Wuhan Sports University. Wuhan Orthopedics Hospital of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine strives to better carry forward the fine traditions of the Chinese civilization and integrate modern medical technologies with excellent Traditional Chinese Medicine to apply them to patients. The hospital adheres to the purpose of “putting people first and integrating TCM and Western medicine with the principle of benevolence, skillfulness, harmony and sincerity for the benefit of society”, thus enhancing people’s health.
Prof. Li Xugui
President of Wuhan Orthopedics Hospital of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine (The Affiliated Hospital of Wuhan Sports University), Chief Physician
Doctoral Supervisor of Wuhan Sports University
Master’s Supervisor of Hubei University of Chinese Medicine and an Adjunct Professor
President Li Xugui, who has been engaged in clinical work in orthopedics for nearly three decades, has a solid theoretical foundation in this field and has academic integrity. He has rich clinical experience in spine surgery, trauma surgery, joint surgery, especially in the treatment of pain in neck, shoulder, waist and legs, limbs and joint trauma, disc herniation, osteophytes, spondylolisthesis, femoral head necrosis, etc.
1. Why did you decide to specialize in orthopedics? Please share with us your career experience.
Speaking of my decision to choose orthopedics, I will start with the year 1991 when I chose my major in university. It was actually a coincidence for me to choose orthopedics. In 1991, I applied for Hubei University of Chinese Medicine. As a matter of fact, I was not very clear about which specialty to choose among all because I was fresh out of high school. Therefore, I randomly chose one. When later I got the admission letter, I found it said Orthopedics and Traumatology. At that time, I thought it maybe a good choice for me, a young man, to study orthopedics. That’s how I ended up in this specialty. Actually in retrospect, although I got into this specialty by chance, this is a fit for me, judging from my job experience. First I think an orthopedic surgeon needs to be strong so those who look tall and strong may be more suitable for this specialty. Over the years, I think orthopedics indeed suits me because it includes all kinds of (orthopedic diseases), be it trauma or other kinds of bone diseases. That’s why I think this profession is quite meaingful.
After I graduated in 1996 as an undergraduate, I worked as an orthopedic surgeon in a hospital in Wuhan. In fact, I went back school to study after working for six years. Why did I make such a choice at that time? The main reason was that as a young doctor, I found it very important for me to pursue further education and keep on learning. After working for six years as an orthopedic surgeon, I decisively resigned and became a postgraduate.
In fact, I came to the hospital now I am working at to learn and gain new experience. Wuhan Orthopedics Hospital of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine has distinctive characteristics of diagnosis and treatment in orthopedics. In 2005, I was fresh out of graduate school and my specialty was related to joints. At that time, I learned that Wuhan Orthopedics Hospital of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine had distinctive characteristics of diagnosis and treatment in spinal treatment and I actually wanted to gain some experiences about it. I’ve been working in this hospital ever since I came here in 2005.
You specialized in joints while you were in graduate school, but why did you decide to study spine surgery thereafter?
In earlier days, there was no such clear division of specialties in our hospital. Our hospital now has 11 subspecialties of orthopedics. During my presidency in 2017 and 2018, I had made some changes with our specialties. When I first came to the hospital, there was no such clear division of specialties. They all belong to orthopedics, without dividing it into joint surgery or spine surgery. For orthopedic surgeons in previous days, they were responsible for all kinds of operations, be it trauma, joints or spine surgery. In terms of spine surgery, our hospital has a profound influence on the public and patients.
2. President Li, could you please introduce the basic information about the hospital?
Our hospital is the only Grade III-A orthopaedics hospital of integrated traditional Chinese and Western medicine in Hubei Province. We are directly affiliated to Wuhan Sports University. Our hospital has 500 beds in total and performs almost 5,000 orthopaedics operations per year. We mainly focus on Orthopaedic Traumatology, Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation. We have built up 8 orthopaedics inpatient wards and established 11 branches of Orthopaedics. Currently, there are around 700 employees in the hospital.
3. President Li, could you please share the story between you and the hospital?
Founded in 1975, Wuhan Orthopaedics Hospital of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine was originally a staff hospital for a military enterprise, but it has developed into a specialized orthopaedics hospital. Honestly, I started to work in this hospital in 2005, which was quite late. At that time, I started as an orthopaedic surgeon and finally took position as the president of the hospital in 2016. I often share this experience with the young medical workers in our hospital. I told them that it took me 11 years to develop from a surgeon to a president. I believe all young workers must work relentlessly, which lays the great foundation of your future success. Since I worked here, I have experienced a lot as the hospital progressed. Over the years, our hospital has transformed from a Grade II hospital that provided services for an enterprise to a Grade III-A hospital specializing in orthopaedics and the directly affiliated hospital of Wuhan Sports University. I consider this achievement as the result of the collective hard work of all the medical workers and management team.
4. After 20-odd years of clinical experience in orthopedics, you have extensive clinical experience and solid theoretical foundation in this field, could you please share some cases that impressed you?
I’ve been working as an orthopedic surgeon after graduation. After all these years, many cases left me a deep impression, including those operations I participated in and those patients I treated myself. Orthopedics can be divided into many subspecialties. In earlier days, I worked in jobs related to trauma, joints and spine. I have engaged in almost every specialty in orthopedics. There are numerous special cases and impressive ones that are etched on my memory. For instance, many patients with osteoarticular diseases are not treated effectively in other hospitals but they have desirable treatment effects in our hospital. For cases like these, we will also get to know the patients’ current conditions by paying them a visit.
When it comes to some fracture cases such as disconnected bones due to treatment in other hospitals or previous surgery, the patients often recover quite well after our diagnosis, treatment and operation. For some patients with spinal diseases that affect their activity, even their daily life and walking will be affected. Actually, a lot of cases leave me a deep impression. I always tell young surgeons in the hospital about this: no matter what our seniority is, such as a resident, chief physician or doctor with senior title, we should treat every patient as the first one in our career and finish every operation wholeheartedly. After the operation, patients need rehabilitation. We should not ignore this and should instruct them. Only in this way will patients be happy with the results of treatment.
5. Could you please introduce the featured treating methods in Wuhan Orthopedics Hospital of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine to us?
Our hospital is a Grade Ⅲ- A Orthopedics Hospital of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine. I think the integration of Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine is best presented in orthopedics. Orthopedics and Traumatology can better show this feature. For instance, to treat patients with trauma or fractures, we not only knit their bones through surgery but also combine treating methods with traditional Chinese medicine. The limbs will swell up if they are injured. Because of this, we will ask the patients to wait several days to relieve swelling before they get treatment. And the process sometimes takes a long time for about 3 to 5 days or even a week. This is a common challenge faced by many hospitals.
Yet in our hospital, if this type of patients need a surgery, we will resort to traditional Chinese medicine. We will apply Chinese methods of treatment and Chinese medicine externally, which helps to reduce swelling and patients can thus faster undergo surgery. Even after the operation, we will use Chinese medicine to provide different treatments in different stages for patients with bone injuries and fractures. For instance, in the early stage, we might use more Chinese medicine to promote blood circulation and remove blood stasis. In the middle and late stages, we will use treatment to nourish liver and kidney and strengthen muscles and bones. By doing so, our patients with fractures can be treated effectively and recover well through the combination of Chinese and Western means of treatment. In addition, patients can avoid some sequela due to fractures or limbs being fixed for too long. Even when treating patients in other specialties, be it trauma, spine or joints, we will use similar methods. For instance, not all patients with spinal diseases such as herniated disc need a surgery. In the early stage, by means of traditional Chinese methods, distinctive medicine or even externally used ointment, we can treat this type of patients.
Actually, I think integration of Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine is China’s feature. Chinese civilization is broad and profound and the development of Orthopedics and Traumatology in traditional Chinese medicine spans millennia. In ancient times, Chinese people already brought this distinctive feature into use to solve a myriad of problems. In this aspect, our hospital can better carry forward the fine traditions of the Chinese civilization by integrating an excellent technique with modern medical technologies to treat our patients. Actually, our distinction is not only in integration of Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine. As we are now the Affiliated Hospital of Wuhan Sports University, in the next step, we will better act in accordance with the national strategy of Healthy China Initiative. When it comes to integration of sports and health, we will also do something new. Integration of Chinese and Western medicine or sports and medicine will be our highlights. Then we will apply these featured and advanced diagnostic and treatment technologies to our patients.
6. Under your leadership, Wuhan Orthopaedics Hospital of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine has transformed, within 5 years, from a Grade II hospital to the first Grade III-A hospital in Hubei Province that not only integrates TCM and Western Medicine but also specializes in orthopaedics. What difficulty did you meet during the reform? How did you conquer it?
We officially accomplished the reform of central state-owned hospitals in December 2022, since we used to be a staff hospital for a military enterprise. At that moment, the hospital was a Grade II-A hospital integrating TCM and Western Medicine.Why did we choose the path of becoming a specialized hospital? It was because we knew how difficult it was for a small Grade II hospital to survive and thrive in the fierce competition among hospitals in Wuhan.Our hospital investigated a lot. In 2018, we realized that we must undergo a complete transformation to pursue better development. We thought highly of our key specialty – orthopaedics so that we combined our specialty advantage in orthopaedics and finally chose the path of an orthopaedics specialized hospital. Meanwhile, the central state-owned hospitals were required to reform according to the national policy in 2018. Therefore, we have been undergoing transition and reform since 2018. We have been on our way to an orthopaedics specialized hospital. During the reform, we also went through the pandemic for 3 years since the end of 2019.
In short, the development of the hospital in the last several years was indeed not easy. We were faced with difficulties in the transition, in the reform of an enterprise hospital, and in the pandemic. But in retrospect, we have carried on with the reform for the past few years and have succeeded in it. We have become the directly affiliated hospital of Wuhan Sports University. We have transformed from a Grade II hospital to a Grade III-A hospital. And we are the only orthopaedics hospital of integrated traditional Chinese and Western medicine in Hubei Province. We have also fully performed our duty in fighting against the Covid-19 pandemic in China.
7. In recent days, the name of the hospital has been officially changed to Wuhan Orthopedics Hospital of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine (Affiliated Hospital of Wuhan Sports University). What’s the reason behind this? What is your plan for the future?
Formerly, our hospital was a military hospital owned by the central government. Back then, the State Council launched reforms on this type of hospitals. That’s why we were also trying to transform our hospital which was owned by the central government. Coincidentally, Wuhan Sports University was looking for an opportunity to develop both sports and medicine. Through our joint efforts, we transformed from a military hospital owned by the central government to the Affiliated Hospital of Wuhan Sports University.
Our hospital is specialized in orthopedics. Sports University is associated with sports and orthopedics to some extent. When we were young, we often read martial arts novel and we often mentioned a man who learned martial arts from an early age and knew something about orthopedic treatment. Integration of sports and medicine is also a major trend to build a healthy China. I think the combination of Orthopedics Hospital of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine and Wuhan Sports University will play a huge role in integration of sports and medicine as well as building a healthy China. Nowadays, an increasing number of people enjoy doing sports and often do some exercises, and they might get injured to varying degrees in this process. As an orthopedics hospital, this is what we specialize in. We not only offer guidance on treatment and diagnosis to this group of people, but also provide instructions about physical training later on. Therefore, as a matter of course, the name of our hospital was changed into Wuhan Orthopedics Hospital of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine and Affiliated Hospital of Wuhan Sports University.
8. Wuhan Orthopaedics Hospital of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine attaches great importance to specialty construction and talent cultivation. The hospital has frequently organized and participated in international academic exchange meetings and sent excellent doctors to study abroad. In your opinion, what would be the significance of strengthening international exchange?
Under the society of increasing globalization, I think our country could further absorb the advanced experiences of others by strengthening cooperation and exchanges with other countries. As for the whole hospital, we could learn from the advanced management experience of others. In terms of diagnosis and treatment, we can also learn up-to-date technology through enhancing exchanges and cooperation.From 2017 to 2018, I went to Munich, Germany to study minimally invasive spine surgery, for the technology was indeed more developed in Germany than in China at that time. After the systematic study, I came back to China and started to perform MIS surgery in our hospital. Currently, our hospital has the largest branch for MIS surgery in Hubei Province, with 50 beds. Our MIS surgery technique has also reached a new height. I often encourage young doctors to study abroad or communicate with foreign experts through online conferences. Learning their ways diagnosing and treating, we can treat patients with better results and higher satisfaction. There is no end to learning. We not only want to recommend our characteristic diagnosis and treatment of orthopedics and traumatology combined with traditional Chinese and Western medicine to foreign friends, but we also need to learn from their advanced diagnosis and treatment concept.
9. In addition to improving clinical expertise, the hospital also attaches great importance to talent cultivation and scientific research. How to realize close combination and coordinated development of "clinical practice, teaching and scientific research"?
Clinical practice, teaching and scientific research are important to every hospital, especially for a Grade III-A hospital. Teaching and learning benefit from each other, as we always learn something new by teaching students. Also, we will carry more responsibilities of teaching as we are now the affiliated hospital of Wuhan Sports University.
Since our hospital became the affiliated hospital of Wuhan Sports University, the university has paid close attention to integrating sports and medicine into teaching. Wuhan Sports University established a school of sports medicine last year. Meanwhile, the university apply for a new undergraduate program - Orthopaedics and Traumatology of TCM. It is delightful that the National Ministry of Education has approved the students recruitment of this specialty after 3 rounds of strict review. Thus, our hospital now has teaching duty in the university. Our hospital attaches great importance to clinical practice, teaching and scientific research. Our hospital is the only direct-affiliated hospital of Wuhan Sports University, so our doctors will have to devote themselves to teaching in the future. Actually, we have been strengthening teaching work for a while. Earlier, we have carried out some pilot clinical training programme by hosting projects of internship and further education for students and doctors. After years of practice, we have gained some experience. We believe that we will give full play to the advantages of specialized hospital in the teaching task of Orthopaedics and Traumatology of TCM in the future. We will fully combine theoretical study and clinical practice in teaching those young and talented medical students.
Scientific research is of great importance for a Grade III-A hospital. Wuhan Sports University owns many scientific research supports in sports training, sports injury and sports rehabilitation, including key laboratories integrating sports and health of the General Administration of Sports of China. We are also applying for a key laboratory integrating sports and health in Hubei Province. We strive to combine our key specialties, namely Orthopaedic Traumatology, Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation, with the health of public. Such research platforms will help our hospital explore deeper in sports injuries for the general public and in sports training and rehabilitation for professional athletes.
10. As a university professor and doctoral supervisor, what advice would you give young doctors in terms of their career development?
Our hospital is now the directly affiliated hospital of Wuhan Sports University. Before we became the affiliated hospital of Wuhan Sports University, the university already had a holistic programme of undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral students in sports training and rehabilitation. These programs can provide complete education in the field. Since our hospital formally cooperated with Wuhan Sports University last year, the university established a new school of sports medicine.As the affiliated hospital of the university, we must carry some of the teaching responsibilities. Therefore, apart from the work of clinical diagnosis and treatment, we also work closely with the university in teaching and scientific research. There is a co-teaching system for the medical workers in our hospitals and the faculty of the sports university. For instance, some surgeons in our hospital are also lecturers at the university. They have double identities. Take me as an example. I focus on orthopaedics, and there are doctoral programs in sports injury and rehabilitation at the sports university. Therefore, I am hired as a supervisor for doctoral candidates in the two specialties of the university.I also want to say something to all the young doctors, including young medical students. I believe, whether you are a medical student or a young doctor who has just graduated from school, what you need to do is to keep learning with a professional spirit when diagnosing and treating patients, because medicine requires practice. We should keep exploring new technologies and strive to bring patients the best outcomes. I also think the profession of a doctor is indeed beneficial to all, and it should be cherished with love from the bottom of our hearts. Being a doctor is not just a job that wins us bread, but a career that we pursue throughout our lives.
What else would you like to share with us?
As the only Grade Ⅲ- A Orthopedics Hospital of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine in Hubei Province, we will continue to leverage our strengths in Orthopedics and Traumatology, sports medicine and rehabilitation based on our two features, namely integration of Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine and integration of Sports and Medicine. We will practice the motto of our hospital “Extraordinary Medical Skills, Good Faith and Ethics” and adhere to the purpose of “putting people first and integrating TCM and Western medicine with the principle of benevolence, skillfulness, harmony and sincerity for the benefit of society”. In this way, we can enhance people’s health.