Guam patients receive life-changing care at Taiwan hospital

SUCCESS STORIES: Patients of the China Medical University Hospital in Taiwan watch video clips of their stories that were shared during the press conference at the Hyatt Regency Guam on Tuesday. From left to right, Joseph Lujan, Tony Palomo, and Theodore Nelson. Haruo Simion/The Guam Daily Post

Ted Nelson was in his 40s and teaching at the University of Guam when he injured his back demonstrating a basketball move to kids in a youth development program.

“It just went out,” he said.

Nearly a decade of pain lay ahead for Nelson and the injury further hurt his hips and knees, he said.

“I started deteriorating. I was really hurting,” said Nelson, now nearly 60.

The physical pain and immobility took a hard toll on him, he said.

Before the accident, he was very active, “I loved the outdoors, hiking, free diving, fishing, and hunting.”

After multiple back surgeries, two in the Philippines and one in Hawaii, Nelson was still struggling and unable to walk.

This summer he traveled to Taiwan and had two hip replacements and a nine-hour surgery on his back at the China Medical University in Taichung.

Nelson spoke at a press conference on Tuesday held by the hospital at the Hyatt Regency Guam in Tumon.

He said he is now, “100% better,” and hopes to be walking when he returns in February for a checkup.

“I look at this as a new lease on life,” he said.

Surgery helped man lose 235 pounds

Thirty-four-year-old Joseph Lujan, a counselor with the Guam Department of Education, is half the man he was two years ago when he traveled to the China Medical University Hospital for a gastric bypass surgery, which significantly limits the size and capacity of the stomach.

At 570 pounds, Lujan had to buy tickets for two plane seats for the trip to Taiwan.

On Tuesday, he shared that he now weighs 235 pounds and is much more active and healthy.

“So I have more energy to be up in front of my students,” he said.

He said he will soon return to Taiwan for a checkup at the hospital.

“Now I only have to purchase one ticket, which is awesome,” he said.

Dr. Hsien-Te Chen, the director of the Spine Center at China Medical University Hospital, discussed the specialized care at the center and explained other successful surgeries he has performed there. Dr. Chih-Kun Huang spoke about the success of the BMI Center where Lujan received his surgery.

The hospital accepts several health insurance providers, including Aetna, Cigna, NetCare, and Staywell.

Those interested in learning more about the services offered at China Medical University Hospital may contact Lynn Yu at


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