70 Seconds, 70 Years: Norman Bethune

In this episode of 70 seconds, 70 years, we take a look at Norman Bethune, a Canadian surgeon who came to China to provide medical services for Chinese troops during the Japanese occupation.

Bethune was born to a religious family in Gravenhurst, Ontario in 1890. He graduated from the Toronto School of Medicine in 1916.

In November 1935, he joined the Communist Party of Canada. Three years later, Dr. Bethune led a medical unit of Canadian and American doctors to Yan’an, base of the 8th Route Army in Northwest China, to provide medical services.

During his stay in China, he saved lives by performing emergency surgeries on the battlefield. He once conducted a record of 71 operations in 40 hours and saved 115 lives in 69 hours.

Bethune died on November 12, 1939, of blood poisoning from a cut he received when performing a surgery.

At the news of Bethune’s death, late Chairman Mao Zedong mourned the loss of the great doctor and internationalist saying that this foreigner made light of traveling thousands of miles to help us, selflessly adopted the liberation cause of the Chinese people as his own.

I’m Wang Yizhi with CCTV NEWS. See you next time.