People Armed With Mao Tsetung Thought Are Always Victorious
People Armed With Mao Tsetung Thought Are Always Victorious
People Armed With Mao Tsetung Thought Are Always Victorious
We want gradually to disseminate dialectics, and to ask everyone gradually to Icarn the use of the scientific dialectical method.
- MAO TSETUNG
People Armed With Mao Tsetung Thought Are Always Victorious
by the team treating burns in Hospital No. 59 under the Kunming units of the People's Liberation Army
Source: Peking Review, No. 43, October 23, 1970
DESPITE the lack of equipment and experience, we succeeded in saving a seriously burnt heroic P.L.A. fighter last March by applying Chairman Mao's brilliant philosophic thinking. Practice has proved to us that Chairman Mao's philosophic thinking is a sharp revolutionary weapon. Using it to command struggle enables one to conquer all and be always victorious.
It Is People, Not Things, That Are Decisive
Chao Teh-chun, a P.L.A. fighter on guard duty at an oil depot on the afternoon of March 27, 1970, was seriously burnt while bravely fighting a raging mountain fire sweeping towards the depot. There were burns on 95 per cent of his body surface, and 90 per cent of these were third and fourth degree burns (the skin, the tissue beneath it and even the muscles all were burnt). The extent and depth of his burns were four times more than what medical literature declares: “death inevitable."
Chao Teh-chun was taken to the hospital that evening, and death seemed imminent. The hospital Party committee immediately set up an emergency group comprising leading cadres and doctors in traditional Chinese medicine, Western medicine, surgery and internal medicine. They were determined to do everything they could to save the patient who was in a critical condition.
However, numerous difficulties confronted the group: The patient was seriously burnt, the hospital lacked equipment for such a case, and it even did not have the special kind of bed needed for treating such a patient.
Confronted by difficulties, what is the first thing we should look at? We opened our red-covered copies of Chairman Mao's works. Chairman Mao teaches: "Of all things in the world, people are the most precious. Under the leadership of the Communist Party, as long as there ore people, every kind of miracle can be performed." Everyone agreed that we should not only consider the aspect that the patient was seriously burnt, but still more important was that we were saving a proletarian vanguard fighter armed with Mao Tsetung Thought; we should not only consider the aspect that material conditions were poor, but more important was that the work of saving was being done in our great socialist motherland which is under Chairman Mao's leadership.
We also saw the following:
Immediately after the hospital Party committee had made the decision "Our class brother's life must be saved," from medical personnel to the hospital patients, from those who had come to study in the hospital from outside to the dependents of the hospital workers and staff, all came offering to be blood or skin donors.
As soon as the news about saving a P.L.A. hero was made known, the general hospitals under the Kwangchow and Kunming units of the P.L.A. sent doctors by special plane or special car. Drugs for treating burns poured into the hospital from everywhere.
All this bolstered our faith in winning out over the difficulties.
"Weapons are an important factor in war, but not the decisive factor; it is people, not things, that are decisive." Chairman Mao's teaching made us understand that while certain equipment is needed in treating extensive burns, conditions can be created through our subjective efforts. So long as everyone's subjective initiative is brought into full play, the material difficulties can be overcome one after another. We had no bacteria-free isolation ward. So we made do by sterilizing an ordinary ward with ultra-violet rays at regular intervals. Along with other necessary measures, it served the purpose of a bacteria-free ward.
To free the patient from shock called for blood transfusions at the initial stage of treatment. But all his subcutaneous blood vessels had been burnt and it was impossible to use any of these vessels for a transfusion. This was a threat to the patient's life.
Chairman Mao's teachings have given us wisdom and strength. He says: "At certain times in the revolutionary struggle, the difficulties outweigh the favourable conditions and so constitute the principal aspect of the contradiction and the favourable conditions constitute the secondary aspect. But through their efforts the revolutionaries can overcome the difficulties step by step and open up a favourable new situation; thus a difficult situation yields place to a favourable one." We made an incision on the eschar over the patient's groin and inserted the transfusion tube into a large vein there. Careful nursing enabled this transfusion method to continue for 16 days.
After a tense 24-hour emergency operation, the patient regained consciousness and called out "Long live Chairman Mao!" which is the strongest utterance of our era. He was enabled to triumph over shock.
Transforming Passive Into Active
The various changes in a patient suffering from burns threw up many barriers in the way of snatching him back from imminent death. The key lay in grasping the initiative when placed in a passive position.
Once the shock was over, bacterial septicemia caused by suppuration of the wounds posed another danger. To prevent infection, it was essential to heal the wounds as quickly as possible. There were two ways: One was grafting after the eschars had decayed and suppurated. This takes a long time and bacteria become active while the eschars are becoming filled with pus, which causes septicemia easily. We considered that this was a passive method. The other way was to remove these scabs before they suppurated and cover the wounds with skin grafts from a donor in order to prevent new infection. But both domestic and foreign medical literature and the rules for operating are most specific: No removal of eschars in an early stage should be done on a patient who has bums on more than 50 per cent of his body sui-face and whose third degree burns are more than 30 per cent, because successive operations involve a big danger.
At the time, the patient had a high fever, a temperature of over 40 degrees centigrade, and his pulse was 160 beats per minute. Under these extremely unfavourable conditions, it was rather difficult to perform successive major operations and to clip into small pieces what little good skin that was left on the patient and transplant them all over his body.
The hospital Party committee organized the medical personnel to study over and over again Chairman Mao's great teaching: "We are now engaged in a great and most glorious cause never before attempted by our forefathers. Our goal must be attained. Our goal can certainly be attained." Greatly inspired by this teaching, we relentlessly criticized our spirit of fear and replaced it with the spirit of daring. We were determined to remove the eschars at an early stage so as to take the initiative.
Before the operation, we conscientiously analysed the problems which might arise and were prepared for them. Bearing in mind Chairman Mao's great teaching "What we need is an enthusiastic but calm state of mind and intense but orderly work," the medical personnel began the operation. After working intensely for more than half a day, we successfully finished the first operation, and the patient's condition remained stable after that. We did two other major operations the next day and three days later.
After the third operation, however, his condition suddenly worsened. His temperature dropped from over 40 degrees to below 36 degrees and his pulse and breathing became feeble. This happened because we had not had time to remove the eschars on his back and suppuration had set in. Bacterial septicemia threatened the patient's life. The problem of whether or not to continue removing the eschars when the patient had septicemia now arose, because it involved danger. We analysed the situation: If we operate while the patient is suffering seriously from septicemia, not only will he go into shock or be brought into some other dangerous situation because of an accident in anaesthetizing, but the operation may bring germs into the blood stream which will cause more serious blood poisoning. What to do?
We again opened our copies of the treasured revolutionary books. *The inferior side can wrest the initiative and victory from the superior side by securing certain conditions through active subjective endeavour in accordance with the actual circumstances." Chairman Mao's teaching made us realize that operating when the patient had septicemia certainly involved danger. But through our active subjective efforts some way could be found to prevent germs from entering the blood stream during the operation and this would change our passive position into an active one. Therefore, we used large doses of antibiotics to eliminate the bacteria before the operation and strove to perform a sterile operation so that only a small amount of bacteria or none would enter the blood stream. Our subjective endeavours to turn the unfavourable factors into favourable ones ensured a very successful operation and got the patient out of danger.
In this way, we performed four major operations in seven days and made skin grafts, thus reducing the surface of third degree burns from 90 per cent to 25 per cent.
Antibiotics must be used to control septicemia. But if we use them too long, the bacteria will develop resistance and make this treatment ineffective. Is there any way to make antibiotics kill bacteria effectively without the latter developing resistance? Chairman Mao teaches: "If a man wants to succeed in his work, that is, to achieve the anticipated results, he must bring his ideas into correspondence with the laws of the objective external world." We realized that this meant we must grasp the law of struggle and interaction between drugs and bacteria. If we used small doses over a long period, the result would be that not only bacteria could not be eliminated, but they would build up resistance as they began to get used to the characteristics of the drugs during the long period and adapt themselves to the environment. Following Chairman Mao's teaching on concentrating a superior force to wage a battle of annihilation against the enemy, we used big doses of the most effective antibiotics in order to destroy nearly all the bacteria at one stroke and hold the rest in check for the time being so that they could not develop resistance. Thus we successfully dealt with the thorny problem of bacteria resistance to antibiotics.
In the later stage of fighting infection, we discovered that there were fungi on his body. This was because control over the fungus was lost and it had become active due to the virtual elimination of bacteria after big doses of antibiotics. At that time, we were still in a passive position in controlling the fungal infection. We mastered the law of struggle and interaction between bacteria and fungus, thus we actively controlled the latter. When the growth of fungus became active, we stopped all antibiotics in order to activate the bacteria to control the fungus and eliminate It. Although the bacteria became active, they were not strong enough to cause septicemia, but could again he brought under control through antibiotics. Thus by taking advantage of the contradiction between the bacteria and the fungus, we succeeded in preventing septicemia caused by fungus.
The human body is an organic whole of a unity of opposities. Pathological change in one part of the human body is sure to affect organs in other parts of the body. Bums are external lesions. But because of this strong external stimulation, great changes will certainly occur in the patient's internal organs. During emergency treatment we went to great pains to protect the patient's internal organs from the very beginning. After he was free of the danger of shock, members of the emergency group gave him refrigerant medicine every day to alleviate the remaining heat and poison from the burns. But after a few days we found that he was fond of eating steaming hot food and this was a "symptom of internal cold." Why was there a contradiction between the patient's external appearance and his internal symptom? With this problem in mind, we again looked to Chairman Mao's brilliant philosophic works. Chairman Mao teaches us: "Fully to reflect a thing in its totality, to reflect its essence, to reflect its inherent laws, it is necessary through the exercise of thought to reconstruct the rich data of sense perception, discarding the dross and selecting the essential, eliminating the false and retaining the true, proceeding from the one to the other and from the outside to the inside." Chairman Mao's great teaching made us understand that the contradiction in the patient showed that there must be one aspect which was real and the other false. A severely burnt patient, stimulated by the flames that burnt him, usually has real "symptoms of heat" at the beginning. But as the condition progresses, the situation regarding his internal organs, which have sustained a strong external stimulation of heat, starts to transform itself into the opposite. Although "symptoms of internal cold" were not too obvious at the time, they reflected the essence of the thing. Although there are many "symptoms of heat," actually they are false symptoms by then. We boldly prescribed medicine of a "hot" nature for the patient, which effectively protected his digestive organs. Thus we enabled the patient to cat lots of solids throughout, which strengthened the resistance of his internal organs.
In this intense battle to save Chao The-chun we came to a deeper understanding that the key to moving from being passive to active and changing, unfavourable factors into favourable ones lies in acting completely in accordance with Chairman Mao's philosophic thinking and in bringing our subjective initiative into full play.
Only by Earnestly Remoulding the Subjective World Can One Better Transform the Objective World
Every step we took in removing the patient from danger was a fierce struggle between two different world outlooks — work for the public interest or for self-interest, for the revolution or for oneself.
From the very start when we were entrusted with the task, the hospital Party committee pointed out clearly: We should zealously try every means to save our class brother who was on the brink of death. But some comrades thought there was no hope for saving a patient with such serious and extensive burns. So they prepared only several days' drugs. It seemed to them they would have done their best if they could make him live a few more days. In the light of our living ideas, the hospital Party committee led us in restudying Chairman Mao's brilliant "three constantly read articles" and Talks at the Yenan Forum on Literature and Art. We checked ourselves against Comrade Bethune's "boundless sense of responsibility in his work and his boundless warm-heartedness towards all comrades and the people" and discussed whether we had worked with zeal and tried every means or done our work perfunctorily. The Party committee also invited Chao Teh-chun's comrades-in-arms to come and tell us about his heroic deeds, which left many of us with tears in our eyes. We felt that to work with zeal means cherishing profound proletarian feelings for our class brothers and to work perfunctorily means lacking basic proletarian feelings and reflects a purely technical viewpoint. The reason why we showed the latter attitude when confronted with a patient whose death was imminent was because our innermost being still was a kingdom of the petty-bourgeois intelligentsia and because we had not changed and remoulded our thinking and our feelings thoroughly that is, we had not undergone a thoroughgoing transformation. This ideological battle resulted in greater consciousness of remoulding our world outlook through our own efforts. We raised the resounding slogan: We will regard the process of saving the patient as a process in which we study and apply Mao Tsetung Thought in a living way, a process of making revolution in our innermost being.
During this tense battle, the child of nurse Sun 3u-cbing who was in charge of supplies suddenly developed a high fever. The leadership told her to go home to find out what was the matter. She replied: "Saving a class brother is important. I can't leave." She worked for scores of hours on end without leaving the hospital. To help the patient excrete, it was necessary to give him an enema. But he was always lying on his back. Having relentlessly criticized his thinking of fearing hardship and dirt, nurse Tung Ting-chu crawled under the bed to do the job.
At every critical moment in treating the burns, the struggle between playing it safe and risking danger was always very sharp. We restudied Chairman Mao's great teaching "This question of 'for whom?' is fundamental; it is a question of principle" over and over. By severely criticizing self, we fostered our determination to serve the workers, peasants and soldiers wholeheartedly. We came to realize that daring to risk danger or just playing it safe is, in essence, working for the revolution or for oneself, for the public interest or for personal interest. The fundamental reason one abides by fixed rules and plays safe is self-interest; while blazing a new trail for the revolution and disregarding danger is the very noble character of the proletariat, and an embodiment of the ideology of wholeheartedly serving the workers, peasants and soldiers. With this ideology, one is able to grasp objective laws and gain the initiative in every action.
The intense battle of more than 100 days to save the patient gave us a vivid lesson in Mao Tsetung Thought and deepened our proletarian feelings for our great leader Chairman Mao. We gained the profound understanding: As long as we have firm faith in the infinite power of Mao Tsetung Thought we are able to perform every kind of miracle; if we act completely in accordance with Chairman Mao's philosophic thinking we can always gain the initiative to transform the objective world, and if we grasp the fundamental question of remoulding our world outlook we are able to gain still greater victories.
Source: Peking Review, No. 42, October 16, 1970
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