Hsieh studied theology in Taiwan and medicine in Japan during World War II. He married a Taiwanese woman who was also studying medicine in Japan. They returned to Nan Tou, took over his father’s Ta Tung Clinic in 1946, and were deeply moved by the suffering of the sick and dying, poor and needy, of the mid-mountain regions.
Hsieh was ordained in 1949 into the Nan Tou Presbyterian Church. He volunteered to join the Mennonite Medical Mobile Clinic in 1950. In 1953, while an assistant resident at Buffalo General Hospital, United States, he decided to build a tuberculosis clinic for the mountain people. With the continuous support of Christian students from America, two Pu Li tuberculosis centers were set up, one for the mountain people (1956-70) and the other for the plains people (1960-70). They later were transformed into the PCT’s Hsieh Wei Memorial Youth Camp.
Hsieh’s pastoral and medical work extended beyond Nan Tou County to the mountain and coastal areas. Besides running the Ta Tung Clinic and tuberculosis centers, he devoted one day a week to each of three other medical institutions: the Pu Li Christian Hospital for Mountain people (1955-70), where he served as surgeon, preacher, and nursing-school instructor; the Pei Men Mercy Door Clinic at the Great Salt Coast of Tainan County, which was run by the Mustard Seed Mission (1964-70) and where he performed amputations for sufferers of blackfoot disease (much like gangrene, it affects the feet, legs, and hands); and Er Lin Christian Hospital for children suffering from polio (1966-70), which began as a coastal medical mobile clinic and later became a branch of the Chang Hua Christian Hospital, PCT, in Er Lin.
Hsieh was extremely occupied with public, medical, and ecclesiastical commitments. He died in a car crash, probably falling asleep from exhaustion while driving to work at Er Lin Hospital. It was the afternoon after an operation that went past midnight followed by an emergency call at 5:00am and a morning of clinical work. His last words to his wife before he left for Er Lin were, “Arriving a minute earlier at the hospital is a minute less pain suffered by the patients, and one more patient’s life might even be saved.” He was known as the Albert Schweitzer of Taiwan and was posthumously awarded a special honor in 1992, the second Taiwan Annual Medical Reward.
This article is reproduced, with permission, from A Dictionary of Asian Christianity, copyright © 2001 by Scott W. Sunquist, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.
The Rev. Dr. Hsieh Wei Memorial Collection (1971). Moody, Katherine, “Farewell to a Friend,” Outlook (1970). Wilson, Kenneth L., Angel at Her Shoulder (1964, 1970).