Professor Ho Dac Di

Professor Ho Dac Di
Professor Ho Dac Di, born in 1900; member of the National Assembly term 2nd to 5th; member of the Standing Committee of National Assembly term 2nd, 3rd , 4th; Principal of Hanoi Medical University; General Director of the Vietnam University Department; Director of the Department for Universities and Vocational Schools; Commissioner of Science and Technology of the State; Chairman of Vietnam-France Friendship Association; Member of the Central Committee of the Vietnam Fatherland Front; President of the Vietnam Medical Association; First class Independence Medal; First class and Second class Resistance Medal; First class and Second class Labor Medal; Medal For the Young Generation; Emulated nationwide in 1952 and 1956. Professor Ho Dac Di was awarded the Ho Chi Minh Award. Professor died on 25th June 1984.

 Professor is the first medical doctor, founder of the Hanoi Medical University and President of the Vietnam Medical Association since its inception to 1984. In 1918, professor studied in France and became a teaching assistant of University of Paris. During his time in France, being exposed to Comrade Nguyen Ai Quoc and a number of Vietnamese patriotic intellectuals, professor felt the pain of humiliation people and wanted to bring his capabilities to serve the people. Return to Vietnam, professor worked as surgeon in Hue Hospital and Phu Doan Hospital. After the August Revolution, Professor was assigned by President Ho Chi Minh many responsibilities such as General Medical Inspector, General Director of the University Department, Principal of Medical University - Faculty of Pharmacy and many other important positions. Although professor involved in leadership, he still worked in training and scientific research...

The life and work of Prof. Ho Dac Di

Professor Ho Dac Di was born in 1900. He was a compassionate, selfless, patriotic, lifelong dedication to the revolution and socialism as well as a doctor and teacher.

With the advice of Dr. Thiroux, Hue imperial royal physician, his family chose medical job for Ho Dac Di and sent him to study in France (1918-1932). First he went to Cochin hospital, studied in medical school faculty of Professor Ferdinand Widal, who was the pride of French clinical medicine.

Graduated resident physician, Ho Dac Di did surgery for a time in Tenon Hospital, and then return home. With the desire to bring scientific knowledge to help people, but in Hue Hospital, the French only took him as probation, after that he was moved to Quy Nhon.

At that time, in both Phu Doan Hospital and Indochina Hospital, there were only 2 French doctors who were Leroy des Barres (Princial of Hanoi Medical University) and  Cartoux  exclusive for surgery. As a lecturer of Medical University (Charge de Cours), Dr. Ho Dac Di fought for the right to be allowed surgery. In Paris, Ho Dac Di met patriot Nguyen Ai Quoc at the Student Union Head Quarter (No 15 Sommerard city in the Latin area), and together with the students sole the Le Paria newspaper for the labor .

Working under the colonial rule, Dr. Ho Dac Di felt frustrations and humiliations: "I am a physician but feel like a patient: the patient in the heart."

The Patriot welcomed General Uprising in August 1945 with the perception: "... All who went through the weary, pang of conscience under the old regime will surely plunge into the whirlwind of revolution, whenever its flames illuminating the soul. For the former intellectuals, life began to change from a choice where their conscience is the most tranquil "(Memoirs).

After the August Revolution 1945, Professor Ho Dac Di took many responsibilities such as Principal of Medical University, Director of the Don Thuy Hospital, General Medical Inspector and General Director of University Department. And when war exploded nationwide, professors and his families evacuated to leave the capital.

On 6th October 1947, Medical University of resistance opened in Chiem Hoa, Tuyen Quang, the school had 2 teachers and 11 volunteer students. One day after the opening ceremony, French paratrooper attacked Bac Can, burned professor’s house and the speaker called out their name: "Dr. Di, Dr Tung on working with the French government will be significant rewarded". But Professor said: "Death is dead, cannot let the French recaptured".

Professor Ho Dac Di belonged to the first class doctor of the Medical University under the new regime. Professor was the first chairman of the Vietnam Medical Association until his death, in 1984.

The valuable scientific heritage of Professor Ho Dac Di included dozens of essays, speeches, lectures. Hanoi Medical University collected on a few files to save; a few articles were published on newspaper.


In the war against the French, the professor had authored works and valuable scientific ideas such as: Speech by the General Director of  University Department of the opening day in 1947, Discussion about culture and scientific spirit  (30th November 1948); Speech at the opening of a National health conference (1949); Lecture of Biology and General Pathology (May 1950) ...

Return to Hanoi, professor edited: Medicine under the light of dialectical materialism (1956), Talking about learning, etc ... They were the synthesis of 20-30 pages long, very fine writing, sleek words, eloquence and rich information; ideas were generalized, with selective quotations and close comments.

The author had widely knowledge, but only wrote a little which was long thought, smoothly into his own unique. So, all the works of Ho Dac Di were excellent on a consistent line of thought, in the rich political patriotism comments as well as academic negotiations.

Many works were written in Vietnamese northern war zone, virtually closed to foreign scientific information, but the author captured and generalized the development of medical science, medicine associated with culture and scientists in common and there were many opinions prophet. The article had profound philosophical and lofty humanistic, laden thoughts passionate about people, about the medical profession, the teaching profession, ethical physicians and research style.

All of these theoretical works of Professor Ho Dac Di were written in French, the language was more familiar to present scholarly reflections and subtle complexity.

From the day that the North was liberated, in Hanoi, professor Ho Dac Di wrote a long post about academic, continued to develop  his thinking and medical knowledge. Prof. also stated the article concise, topically, with a rustic motif, more mass, to direct the specific ideological education, the sticking point of the Party. These documents had a meaningful methodology in training health staff.

Scientific research achievements and training by Prof. Ho Dac Di

In graduated dissertation as a medical doctor in Paris, Professor Ho Dac Di was the first one who invented the method of gastric surgery (gastric-duodenal connected) for the treatment of pyloric stenosis due to gastric-duodenal ulcer disease replacement for gastric resection method which was used previously. This was the conservative treatment which was named by Dr. Di, recognized in many textbooks, many of the mentions and the value during 30-40 years.

The later scientific work of Prof. Ho Dac Di (1937-1945) often co-signers with colleagues (such as Prof. Huard, Prof. Meyer-May ...), with colleagues and students (Vu Dinh Tung, Ton That Tung ...) with the content to solve the diseases which were characterized by poor tropical countries and backward. Acute pancreatitis was discovered in 1937 which opened the way for the brilliant results of Ton That Tung in the year after. Surgical treatment of complications of peritonitis due to typhoid was also important contributions to the study that opened the way for gallbladder perforation or a new surgical method in gynecological surgery. The statistical analysis of the operation, along with Huard, published in Far Eastern Medicine report published in Paris were valued and consult widely in tropical countries . Professor was the first in the country to research the status of shock due to injuries, were reported in the publication (1944) and many other valuable works, such as Surgical treatment of peritonitis in North Vietnam (1944), Surgical treatment of duodenal peptic ulcer in North Vietnam (1944). Journal of the Academy posted the rare perforation of the gall bladder surgery, 1937; peritonitis due to bowel perforation in typhoid, ... 1939; Medical French Overseas  posted a new technical cesarean baby.

With 21 projects currently found in 37 published works, he was the first surgeon who deserved the first masters with many works that opened the way for future research, highly appreciated by Council professor (full French) and was selected as the first Vietnamese professor.

In the war against the French, Professor and his student – Dr. Ton That Tung, had a determination and a historic decision that our country was grateful:  maintained and developed the Medical University to response directly to the urgent needs of the war: that was to provide for the people and the army the medical staff who were highly qualified, with four times the number of doctors we had in this war.

The famous training motto of professor that set out at that time had been recognized as scientific and effective: "Going to serve the campaign, then back to the school to summary, then going to serve the campaign again: starting from reality, through real scientific experiments, then back to reality." With this motto, the school trained over 250 doctors, 100 pharmacists serving resistance in all areas of the country. The period after the French war, when the quality of training at risk of falling, he reminded, "college is not high school level 4"; which is where the "learners are trained from a process that they can train themselves." The views about philosophy, education, training and medical ethics of professor appeared in each opening speech that he read every year. On 6th October 1947 speech: "Our school sticks with the destiny of the nation: to serve the people, learn by doing, teaching coupled with scientific research. Teacher-student relationship is cordial relations that unite and help each other, there is no room for fawn upon, critical consciousness must be enhanced, in order to understand the truth. Medical schools have to be itself: Understand the truth, love of beauty, perform the best. "


Translated by Nga Nguyen