China boasts a population of something in the region of 1.4 Billion people, making it the most populated country in the world. The population in China has swelled so much that there are even laws limiting the number of children couples can have there.
When Phillip went to teach in China, leaving his comfortable life in Australia behind, he took an immediate shine to the Chinese people, and that worked both ways. When he ended up saving lives Philip became a hero…
Chinese medicine couldn’t be more different from what we are used to in the West. The very prospect of taking a small white pill made from chemicals to deal with a headache is something totally foreign to most Chinese people, and there are many of them.
The Chinese are superstitious in general but one thing they all agree on is that patented chemicals are not good for human beings. In China, when someone has pain or some other ailment, they head straight for the Chinese Pharmacist, to buy a tincture that is specially made to deal with their problem. Tinctures contain only natural and usually organic ingredients…
We’ll talk about acupuncture for headaches soon, but for now, a Chinese Pharmacist will usually make a concoction using anything from wheat, to peaches, to artichokes, as well as a range of herbs and roots believed to cure pain. While the Chinese have few clinical trials to go on when it comes to their remedies, they believe wholeheartedly in them as they are ancient concoctions steeped in tradition.
When a person in China has a headache, they will often be given small needles, inserted in and around the sinuses and head by a professional in order to release tension points in the skull. Acupressure is similar, but instead of needles, pressure is applied to those areas with fingers or small tools…
Having understood a little more about Chinese medicine, we turn our attention back to Philip, who had been teaching English in China for a few years. Phillip was only 27 when his health took a turn for the worst. No one was expecting it that soon, even though it had been on the cards for some time.
Type 1 Diabetes
Phillip had suffered from Type 1 Diabetes for many years due to his genes. He controlled his condition for the most part, until one day, in May of this year, he succumbed to it, dying before he was 30 in the city of Chongqing where he taught English to poor Chinese kids…
Phillip knew that apart from his diabetes he was healthy and that most of his organs were in good working order. His last wish was that his body parts be donated to whoever needed them, but this made Phillip a hero in China, and for good reason.
While the city of Chongqing has a population of more than 30 million people, Phillip made history when he became the first foreigner ever to donate his organs in the city, and only the seventh in the nation’s recorded history…
While organ donors sometimes have the honor of saving a person’s life with their liver or lungs, Phillip ended up helping 5 different people, three of which needed life-saving operations. From his liver to his eyes, Phillip had a remarkable impact on the lives of others during his own lifetime, and beyond.
One of the people that Phillip saved was a man who desperately needed a new liver. Another two people were saved by receiving a new kidney each from Phillip. Amazingly, all three of those people were able to go on and live their lives to the full for many happy years thanks to Phillip. But there was more…
On top of the life-saving organ donation, Phillip Hancock’s corneas also helped two people to see again. For all of this, Phillip was lauded as a hero, while some Chinese people called him an “angel.” This foreigner had lived and died in China, and people loved him for that.
Phillip got a bunch of online tributes from people who posted on Chinese forums. One wrote, “You saved three lives and helped two others see. You’ll always be remembered.” While another posted, “You’ll live on through those you saved.” His family was stoked when they read messages such as these…
While Phillip had been in China for 4 years when he fell ill from his diabetes, his family flew from Australia to be with him in the hospital, but when they arrived he was in a coma and his heart had temporarily stopped beating. They prepared themselves for the worst.
The doctors in China felt terrible about the situation but they had to do their job and were left with little choice. When they showed Phillip’s family categoric proof that he was totally brain dead, they knew there was no way back…
We Already Knew
Phillip’s death, unfortunately, came as no shock to his family. As his father, Peter told reporters, “There was nothing to be done. We knew he was gone, even though he was still warm to the touch and his heart was beating.”
When the doctors told Peter and his wife that keeping their son on life support would only mean that his organs deteriorated further, they were understandably devastated. “It was very hard, we had to make that decision [to switch off life support] sooner rather than later,” Peter Hancock said…
The whole reason Phillip gave up his job and comfortable life back in Australia was because he always loved helping people. That’s the main reason why he went to teach English, in order to help and to educate perfect strangers. He most certainly fulfilled his mission through the work he did while in China.
Wanted To Help
“He had always thought that if he was ever in that situation, he would like his organs donated – whatever they could take – so he could help out in some way,” said Peter, “He always wanted to help people in whatever way possible. That’s why he wanted to be a teacher.”
As a nation, the Chinese don’t traditionally believe in organ donation. “The idea that one’s body as a whole – including its outermost skin and hair, given by one’s parents, is not to be harmed – must be at the back of everyone’s mind,” said Associate Prof Yi Zheng, from the University of New South Wales.
Easing The Pain
Peter spoke about the horrible loss he and his family have felt after losing their son so tragically. But there have been ongoing messages of hope which, according to the family, have helped to ease the pain and grief a little. As Phillip’s father concluded, “Some people have said to us: ‘Try and not to be too sad because part of Phil is still living on in these people.” adding, “But as a parent, it’s not much consolation. While we’re glad he’s helped these people, deep down, we just want him back.”