The South Link Highway, connecting Malan in Taitung City with Fenggang in Pingtung, runs for just over 100 km, and outside of Taitung City there is not a single hospital along the way. When Hsu returned to Taitung to work in 2002, the population of Daren, the county’s southernmost township, was 4,141, with a single doctor serving them—him. Despite paying the same National Health Insurance premiums as their compatriots in the cities, these rural residents couldn’t even see a doctor on weekends or at night because there simply wasn’t anyone there to see.
Thanks to Hsu’s hard work, in 2006 a 24-hour emergency station was set up along the South Link Highway in Dawu Township, but even so, he continued spending a superhuman 400 hours a month working. Then, at 1 a.m. on September 19, 2006, having spent 80 hours on duty and just after finishing with his last patient at the emergency station, Hsu collapsed. When he regained consciousness, he found he had lost the use of the left side of his body, having had a stroke at just 39 years old.