Binseng Wang
Sc.D., CCE, Prov. QMS Auditor, Fellow ACCE, Fellow AIMBE

The Real Me

Place Visited

Binseng Wang was born in Taiwan, raised in Brazil, and now lives in the U.S.  Due to this traumatic upbringing, he is a very confused person.

He thinks he is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, Chinese, and English, and likes to give speeches and write in these languages (see bibliography).  In reality, due to his heavy accent very few people can understand him well enough to know what he is talking about, but everyone is too polite to point this fact out to him.  Furthermore, the audience is normally too shy to admit that they did not understand anything, so everyone applauds.  This makes him think he is such a great speaker and writer.  Worse yet, his handwriting can only be interpreted by licensed pharmacists (only those with a Pharm.D.).  Luckily, his typing skills are not that horrible.

While still in Brazil, he received a BSc in Physics hoping to become the next Einstein.  Just to be safe, he also got an engineer's degree.  In the meantime, he attended a class on Medical Physics and discovered that human physiology is quite interesting.  He then applied to the Master's degree program in Biomedical Engineering.  Once admitted, he discovered that he was the only student and his advisor was not able to give him much time due to a family illness.  So he was bequeathed to the head of Neurosurgery, who did not know what to do with him so treated him as a regular medical intern.  He made morning rounds with the staff, visited the ICU, witnessed surgeries, and talked to patients as if he were a "doctor."  His thesis was the design of a transcutaneous pain-relief stimulator and he had the opportunity to actually apply it on many patients.  Unfortunately other researchers and companies in the US were also pursuing the same technology and managed to commercialize it well before him (known as TENS today), so he ended up penniless.

Afterwards, he went to MIT to study Bioelectrical Engineering, wishing to find ways to understand how the brain works.  He spent countless 30 plus hours "nights" working with cats at the Eaton-Peabody Lab for Auditory Physiology, trying to correlate the auditory nerve's individual fiber activity with the whole nerve's electrical response.  This study provided scientific basis for the interpretation of the electrocochleargram (ECoG), but again no money or fame for him.

After concluding his doctoral degree, he went back to Brazil to teach (and pay back the fellowship he got from the government).  At the State University of Campinas he helped to create a Department of Biomedical Engineering, teaching and doing research with undergraduate and graduate students.  Although some of the equipment designs were transferred to the native industry, he again did not become famous or make much money.

Opportunity came knocking on his door when the then new president of the University needed someone to manage the mess of US$15 million worth of imported equipment that had been rotting away in the unfinished hospital's basement.  The president was asking for an international expert in Washington, when he was told by a Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) regional advisor that a MIT doc who claimed to know medical technology was in his own university.  Without anywhere to hide and afraid of losing his cushy, tenured position, Binseng took the challenge and was given one engineer, one technician, and a patient room to get started.  The technician left immediately upon realizing that it was an impossible mission, but fortunately the engineer stayed ('til today!).  His first desk was a door on two saw horses and all the tools he could bring from home and the research lab.  From that point, he was rewarded with something each time his team solved a problem.  Four years later, the Center for Biomedical Engineering had 80 staff members and a 3 story building.  He never quite understood why the World Health Organization (WHO) waited for him to leave Brazil to designate this Center as a WHO collaborating center.  Perhaps they are much wiser than he will ever be...

Instead of allowing him to rest on his laurels, he was asked to transfer to the state government to work for the new Secretary of Health, who was the former president of the State University of Campinas.  Starting from scratch again, he created an Office of the Special Advisor for Equipment and recruited nurses, physicians, nutritionists, and administrators to complement the engineers and architects.  This office was responsible for establishing a statewide policy for technology acquisition, distribution, management, and maintenance, covering 550 hospitals and thousands of clinics.  The worst challenge was not the number of hospitals, but the fact that the majority of the hospitals were non-profit organizations that are very competitive among themselves, while the few large public hospitals simply wanted everything for themselves.  Obviously, Binseng ended up "persona non-grata" everywhere and had to leave the country in a hurry.  The curious thing is that after he left, the following Administration turned the Office into a permanent Department of Health Equipment.  Again, he missed the opportunity to become rich and famous... :-)

During the period he was at the University and with the state government, he had the privilege to perform numerous consulting jobs for PAHO and its member countries.  He traveled to Argentina, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Mexico, Peru, etc., confusing everybody there by speaking "Portuñol" (Português mixed with Español).  He was often praised as having a very "rich" vocabulary, because he constantly invented words that never existed in either language.

He spent two wonderful years at NIH doing research on a project that was code named "the alphabet soup."  He was constantly juggling terms like EEG, EMG, TMS, CT, MRI, and PET, while everybody else thought he was going nuts.  Fortunately the nightmare ended when he finally managed to merge all these funny sounding things into a three-dimensional combination of data and images (see publications).

When he was about to pack his bags and return to Brazil, he received a call from an old friend to work for a rental company called MEDIQ/PRN.  He thought the rental idea was intriguing and decided to give it a shot.  He only worked in the public sector and academia before, so it was a good opportunity to "taste the greener pasture on the other side of the fence."  The grass (not the "weed") turned out to be very addictive and he stayed there for almost twelve years, until that company was bought out by a major manufacturer!

He next worked over 11 years for the largest independent service organization in the field of clinical engineering (known as Aramark Healthcare Technologies), misguiding and confusing clinical engineers and technicians in over 450 facilities and criticizing government agencies and accreditation organizations, just for fun.  Then he decided to venture into the "dark side" and joined a medical device manufacturer (Sundance Solutions) in late 2014, hoping for a final chance to become rich and famous.  However, he lost his job early 2016 when Sundance was bought out by another major manufacturer.  So he had to start from scratch again seeking fortune and fame...

Even before coming to the US, he joined the American College of Clinical Engineering (ACCE) and has been active in many activities organized by ACCE, especially the workshops for training young clinical engineers.  Besides several workshops offered in the US, he participated in the workshops offered in China and South Africa (see Wonders Visited for some of the places he went to).  He also has been assisting an international relief organization, Carelift International, in its effort to transfer technology support and management skills in addition to the donation of equipment, drugs, and disposables.  He is a firm believer of the principle of "better teach them how to fish than just giving them the fish" and the open market economy model.  Since 2015 he has contributed to numerous workshops and seminars in China hoping to make sure that Chinese clinical engineers will not make the same mistakes that he and his American colleagues have made in the last 4 decades.

His hobbies include home improvement (he claims to be better than Tim, the toolman), tennis (he whipped Michael Chang 6-0; not that kid from California, but a 75 year-old guy with the same name in a wheelchair), fishing (the biggest ones always managed to get away before he got their pictures), and computer hacking (the smoking remains are still in the basement).

He particularly enjoys helping young clinical engineers grow old and, hopefully, wiser, while picking on the famous and well-established ones (like himself).  After all, the younger ones can grow strong and come after you, while the older ones are likely to fade away without fighting too much.  Above all, he enjoys annoying others by overstating his own importance and abilities.

Lastly, but most importantly, he carefully guards his Brazilian passport, as that country is one of the few that does not have an extradition treaty with the US!

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