Dr. LAW Sheung Wai has often been described as a “modest person with a great heart”, and his humanitarian work has gained him considerable admiration from both his peers and patients.
This consultant surgeon of Tai Po Hospital’s Department of Orthopaedics Rehabilitation is a familiar face at the Hong Kong Salvation Army Elderly Centre where he does voluntary work. He would visit homes to educate the older population on osteoporosis, how to prevent falls and fragility fracture and how to make their home a safer place.
However, it was his work in the aftermath of the massive earthquake that shook Sichuan province in 2008 that propelled him to public attention. His empathy towards the survivors, many of them children and teenagers who had lost their limbs, knew no bounds.
In the weeks following the tragedy, Dr. LAW visited some of the casualties in a Guangzhou hospital and was devastated at what he saw. As an orthopaedic surgeon, he knew that providing amputees with prosthesis in the early days of the post-operative period was essential. Under the leadership of Professor CHAN Kai-Ming, the "StandTALL Project” was established in Hong Kong to solicit donations to help the victims. He and other volunteer medical personnel would then travel every weekend to Guangzhou, armed with temporary prosthetics and mobile physiotherapy and occupational therapy equipment.
Under the project, Dr. LAW introduced smart prosthetics and other advanced rehabilitation technology to the mainland hospitals and provided training to hundreds of rehab workers. To teach his students about social responsibility, he would organise visits to the mainland to see for themselves the rehab work that is being done. His philosophy is that no matter how good medical technology is…“if you don't put in the human factor, it won't work."
With passing time, donations to the earthquake victims began to dwindle. Despite that, Dr. LAW never stopped helping the amputees, many of whom would become his friends. The survivors he had helped over the years, via the StandTALL project, include a young female amputee who now holds two university degrees, while another became a famous paralympic table tennis player. He has said numerous times that as long as there are resources, he will continue helping his quake patients.
His outstanding work with the quake survivors did not go unnoticed, and he was presented with the Hong Kong Humanity Award in 2017. Dr. LAW is, indeed, a humanitarian in the true sense of the word.