Wang Yihui was born in 1899. He received his medical degree from St. John’s in Shanghai, training as an intern at Johns Hopkins University hospital in Baltimore and a hospital in New York City. Wang married Dorothy Xu (Xu Delan, Dorothy Huie), the 6th daughter of Xu Qin (Huie Kin) and Louise Van Arnam, in Beijing on December 1, 1928 and had four children together.
They both taught at the Peking Union Medical College (PUMC). He was an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology from 1924-34 and advised doctors at other institutions such as the Beiyang Women’s Hospital. Her research focused on the eradication of kala-azar, a disease which, if left untreated, led to death, and which was endemic to rural China north of the Yangtze River.
Wang was the attending physician for Sun Yat-sen, first president of the Republic of China, when he fell ill during negotiations with the northern government in Beijing and was hospitalized at the PUMC hospital. On March 12, 1925 Sun died of liver cancer and Wang’s brother-in-law Zhu Youyu, the PUMC chaplain, led the memorial service.
After the Japanese army occupied North China in the early 1930s, the Wangs moved to Shanghai and became affiliated with St. John’s University medical school. Due to the war, the school had to move three times, yet was able to establish a new hospital for wounded or ill refugees. The hospital also supplied volunteer doctors and nurses to work in medical units along the Burma Road. Money for food for patients and staff came from the American Red Cross.
In the summer of 1941, Wang began directing obstetrics at the medical school, which had an enrollment of 125 students. Dorothy, meanwhile, taught microbiology at St. John’s from 1943-44.
After the couple was legally separated, Wang continued to work in hospitals in Shanghai and then in Xian, where he died. Dorothy Xu moved to the United States, where she died in Colorado Springs in 1999.
- Stacey Bieler, “The Xu Family: A Legacy of Service,” in Salt and Light: More Lives of Faith That Shaped Modern China, edited by Carol Lee Hamrin with Stacey Bieler, 103-4.