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Tongzhou doctor takes portraits of patients


Updated: 2019-11-27

Yao Shuai, a doctor at a hospital for Chinese medicine in Tongzhou district, Nantong, Jiangsu has taken over 10,000 photos for patients over the past three years. His story was broadcast on CCTV on Nov 23.

The 30-year-old man works in the vasculocardiology department, where most patients are elderly and many have been diagnosed with cancer. He believes that patients need hope and confidence that they will get better in addition to just medical treatment.

Yao said that he had been inspired by Lyv Nan, a contemporary Chinese photographer who once lived with mental patients and showcased their living conditions. In 2016, he decided to begin working on a series of photos.

A temporary photo studio was set up in an empty room in the hospital, and Yao now chats with and takes photos of patients after work. He has interviewed over 450 patients and their family members and shot more than 10,000 portraits.


Yao Shuai, a doctor at a hospital in Tongzhou district, has shot more than 10,000 portraits for patients over the past three years. [Photo/WeChat account: southtongzhou]

"My family lived a hard life and we were unfairly treated in our village when my father was sick. I know about the helplessness and hardships patients face, and understand their desires to be treated properly," said Yao.

Yao sees drugs as medicine for the body and his photos as medicine for the soul, both of which are essential to the wellbeing of humans.

"Yao is patient with all his patients and will answer their questions on WeChat even he is busy. It is honorable for such a young doctor to do so many things outside of work," said the hospital's vice president.