Lives of the fellows

David Landsborough

b.16 December 1914 d.2 March 2010
MB BS Lond(1937) MRCS LRCP(1937) MD(1939) MRCP(1947) FRCP(1975)

David Landsborough IV was superintendent of Changhua Christian Hospital, Taiwan. He was born in Changhua City, Taiwan. His father, David Landsborough III, was a medical missionary who went to Formosa (Taiwan) with the Reverend Campbell Moody. They opened a church that doubled as a clinic – the Changhua Christian Hospital – in 1896 and Landsborough III served as the first superintendent until 1936. In November 1912, he married Marjorie Ellen Learner at the British Consulate, Tamsui, Taiwan. In 1928, in order to save a seriously sick young patient, Landsborough III removed strips of skin from his wife, who readily volunteered without hesitation, and grafted them onto the child’s wound. This selfless ‘skin graft of love’ story continues to inspire medical staff at Changhua Christian Hospital.

Landsborough IV was educated at a mission school in Chefoo, Shantung, northern China and then studied medicine at the London Hospital Medical School, qualifying in 1937. He held junior posts at the London Hospital and then, in 1940, went to Fukien, south China, as a medical officer at Chuanchow General Hospital. In 1947, he married Jean Murray Connan, who was also a doctor.

In 1952 Landsborough IV moved back to Changhua as the ninth superintendent of Changhua Christian Hospital, a post he held until 1980. Under his and his wife’s care, the hospital developed into a modern teaching hospital. They also cemented the four aims of the Changhua Christian Hospital: medicine, evangelism, service and education. Meanwhile they adopted three children: Donald, David and Katharine.

Colleagues called David Landsborough III ‘Dr Lan’ or ‘Dr Lan Jr’, to distinguish him from ‘Dr Lan Sr’, his father. During his various travels, Dr Lan Jr would always take a moment to make a quick sketch of the scenery, whether it was a sea port or a Chinese temple. He described himself as a Taiwanese from England: he had great love for both countries.

After his retirement, Dr Lan Jr went to live in the UK with his wife. Though no longer living in Taiwan, Dr Lan Jr never forgot Taiwan and its people and often corresponded with his friends there. He even made a wooden nameplate with the Chinese character of Lan and put it above the front door. Many of his friends and former colleagues at Changhua Christian Hospital travelled to the UK to visit him.

In 1996, on behalf the Landsborough family, Dr Lan Jr received the sixth annual Taiwan Health Foundation Award for Contribution to Medicine; he also received the Order of Brilliant Star with Violet Grand Cordon from the Taiwan president Lee Teng-hui in the same year.

David Landsborough IV died at the age of 96 after a fall. A funeral service in his memory was held at Redhill United Reformed Church. David’s family, friends, former missionary partners, as well as other Taiwanese friends, Changhua Christian Hospital colleagues and representatives attended the service, including Taiwan's representative in the UK, Chang Siao-yue.

Dr Lan’s love for Taiwan was borne out by his unstinting work helping to create a healthcare system based on Christian values and best medical practice. The father and son, paired with their wives, won the unanimous respect and recognition of the Taiwanese people.

Paul C Ke

[Takao Club The Landsborough File Dr David Landsborough IV – accessed 6 October 2018; BMJ 2010 340 2773 – accessed 6 October 2018; The Taiwanese 12 May 2006 Dr David Landsborough III – accessed 6 October 2018; Taipai Times 1 August 2012 – accessed 6 October 2018]

(Volume XII, page web)

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