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Heartfelt Care: The Story of Tainan's Hahn Clinic

  • Date:2024-05-14
Heartfelt Care: The Story of Tainan's Hahn Clinic

Hahn Clinic has been both a witness to and a participant in Tainan City’s development since it was founded nearly a century ago in 1928. The nearly 80,000 medical records kept by Hahn Clinic founder Dr. Shyr-chyuan Hahn from 1945 until his death offer rare insight into the health of both his clinic’s patients and modern Tainan. They testify to the lingering health effects of World War II, the lived experiences of generations of city residents, and the challenges regularly posed by epidemics and the era’s health issues. These records are first-hand evidence of local histories of Taiwan during its difficult march from postwar recovery to today’s vibrant democracy.

Dr. Hahn & Hahn Clinic’s Carefully Kept Medical Records 
Since its founding in 1928, Hahn Clinic has been one of Tainan City’s most prominent local hospitals, tending to the needs of patients both near and far. Today, Hahn Clinic continues to see and treat patients under the leadership of the founder’s son, Dr. Liang-chen Hahn. The nearly 80,000 medical records written by Dr. Shyr-chyuan Hahn and preserved by his children for posterity comprise the most comprehensive collection of early hospital medical records anywhere in Taiwan. They not only reflect the care with which Dr. Hahn treated every patient, but also show how shifts in the social and political landscape have impacted local healthcare needs over time. 

Hahn Clinic: Navigating Turbulent Times
Hahn Clinic’s ten decades in business span the Japanese colonial period (1895-1945) and World War II as well as the February 28 Incident of 1947 and the subsequent White Terror Period (1947-1989). During the final part of the war, many Tainan residents sought refuge in the surrounding countryside to escape the devastation caused by U.S. strategic bombing. With community support and assistance, Hahn Clinic relocated as well, allowing it to survive the end of the war and continue providing vital medical services to both rural and urban residents. Through good times and bad, Hahn Clinic’s close, caring ties to its community, neighbors, and patients have persisted and grown. 

Medical Records: The Story of Us
Medical records are increasingly used worldwide to help reconstruct local medical histories and better understand the lived historical experience of societies. The medical records collection of Dr. Shyr-chyuan Hahn provides a rare opportunity to research public history as well as the history of modern medicine in Taiwan, offering insights into not only past epidemics and medical techniques but also patients’ jobs, families, and nutritional health and habits. Big data analytics may be used to identify household and gender trends as well as shed light on the living conditions of bygone occupations.

Continuing the Hahn Legacy of Care
Hahn Clinic, founded in 1928, has witnessed and weathered Taiwan’s rocky evolution from a colony of Japan, through a world war and martial law autocracy, to today’s multiparty democracy. Since Dr. Shyr-chyuan Hahn’s passing in 1963, the clinic has continued to serve the community under the hands-on leadership of his third son, Dr. Liang-chen Hahn, who, like his father, is committed to community service and patient care. He established Tainan’s first MICU (medical intensive care unit) and was a key backer of NCKU’s Institute of Gerontology and geriatric hospital. Walking into Hahn Clinic today, the waiting area to your left is the clinic’s former MICU, while the records room to your right is where hundreds of thousands of medical records are still stacked tidily to the ceiling. The meticulous records kept by father and son on each of their patients bear witness to both changing times and the changeless concern of Hahn Clinic for the health of all who seek its care.