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China in the Ozarks: Part Two: Chinese Medical Professional Profile

As part of our on going series Global Citizenship, KSMU is bringing you a week of in-depth reports about Chinese influences in the Ozarks. Today we talk with a Chinese doctor practicing physical medicine and rehabilitation in the Ozarks. KSMU's Emily Nash has the report.

"So, my name is Shan-Liang Liu, and if you want to hear the Chinese name it's the same but a little bit different. It's Liu Shang-Liang. Liu is the family name and we like to put the family name first." (:17) I am from a small town in China, and thankfully I was able to get a good education there, and I don't know the exact reason why I moved to America but I liked it and I stayed here. Then I get a kind of a resident training and to start, or re-start my physical career."

Dr. Liu was a neurosurgeon in China but decided to change his medical practice to physical medicine and rehabilitation, when he moved to the United States.

"Basically the rehab is trying to bridge between the home and the hospital, at the hospital you take care of the disease, and by function it's not ready to be discharged at home this the place you need to come."

He has been a doctor at the Missouri Rehabilitation Center in Mt. Vernon since 2004.

"Let me check your heart and your lungs ok? (Breathing...)"

He says China doesn't have rehabilitation medicine.

"when I first came out there was no such thing as real rehab. No rehab.. And ah there are people getting sick and medical stable. Whatever function you are, you have to go home. And a family member has to take care of you. And we don't have a nursing home either. So here is different and that's a relatively new area to me and that's why I like it."

Liu explains he was surprised when he discovered another difference between the American and Chinese medical systems.

"I don't have any problem with the lawsuits, we are educated in America has a higher lawsuit related to medical things. In China, we really don't have that in our minds. You certainly have to use your heart to take care of the patient, but certainly we don't hear much in lawsuit. Here, you do everything defensive. You treat the still have to worry whether to get a suit or something like that."

Besides a lower number of lawsuits, he says China's medical system also practices less preventative medicine.

"Not many people do the preventative medicine here....they really just try to fix something not really prevent it."

Dr. Liu's patients stay in the hospital for rehabilitation for up to six weeks.

And he says having the long term care helps break down any kind of cultural barrier that might occur.

"First, there is a barrier there. They see, they hear your accent there, of course some people do not like it. But, I try to use my knowledge to take my time to explain to them, not explain my background, but explain why they are here, what their disease is, and uh, I do feel the barrier at the beginning, but by the end of the care here, on the discharge, everybody feels pretty good."

"How you doing today?

I'm alright.

Ok! How was your sleep last night?


You still feel tired in the morning..."

Although Dr. Liu and his family have lived in the U.S. for over 13 years, he says he still gets nervous chatting with Americans.

Liu says there is no easy way to completely understand another country's culture.

"Actually I still have trouble chatting with American people. Chatting about medicine, yeah I have a lot of talk. But chat with a lot yeah chat with a lot I still have to pause a lot to still sometimes have to because I just do not feel so fluent in the culture background to talk about that things. It really don't know you know? That takes a long time you know? You cannot solve that in one generation so."

Even though he struggles with language and culture barriers, Liu says he still feels accepted and appreciated by the people in the Ozarks.