In 1834 at the age of 30, Peter Parker became the first Protestant medical missionary to China.
He established the first hospital in China with the help of Howqua, a wealthy merchant and a good friend of Americans, who offered free use of one of his big factories.
It was known as Canton Hospital and Parker Hospital.
At first he treated diseases of the eye, but later expanded his practice to many other maladies, mostly tumors.
He also introduced Western anesthesia methods – first ether and then chloroform.
He worked with the Chinese painter Lam Qua, who painted patients with various tumors to document their maladies.
Some of these are part of a collection of Lam Qua’s work held by the Peter Parker Collection at the Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library at Yale University.
Parker also trained several Chinese students who became skilled in medicine and surgery.