from the Island Journals of the Legendary “Dr. Koto”
DR. Kenjiro Setoue
From the Introduction
Dr. Setoue was a successful surgeon in a large urban hospital who had tired of the long hours and was planning to start his own private practice. He agreed, in the interim, to take a job at a clinic on a small rugged island off the west coast of Kyushu. That was back in 1978. Dr. Setoue only intended to stay for six months, but he has been there ever since.
“I could not have foreseen that in the absence of urban distractions, I would find no other alternative but to live each day in a rather common manner. I would enjoy tasty fish, warm people, and a thriving traditional culture, and, as a doctor, begin to experience and appreciate the importance of the life of every single individual in the community.
“I encounter many patients I am unable to heal. But there are no patients that
do not need to be helped in some way. Even a patient with only one day left to
live needs to be helped through that day. One must not become so focused on
curing the patient that they forget to help them. The difficulty comes with how
one helps the patient. This is even more difficult than curing them.”