Lawmakers demanded Seoul National University Hospital President Suh Chang-suk step down at a parliamentary audit of state-run university hospitals, but Suh made it clear that he had no intention to resign.
The legislators from both the ruling and opposition parties at the National Assembly’s Education, Culture, Sports, and Tourism Committee said Suh should take responsibility for fabricating the death certificate of a farmer activist who died after being knocked down by a water blast during an anti-government protest in 2015.
|Seoul National University Hospital President Suh Chang-suk speaks at a parliamentary audit at Chungnam National University on Monday, refusing to step down.|
Lawmakers denounced wrongdoings of national universities and their hospitals at the parliamentary audit at Chungnam National University in Daejeon on Monday. They also demanded Suh give up his post.
“During last year’s parliamentary audit, (SNUH) Professor Paek Sun-ha persistently claimed that the late farmer Baek Nam-ki’s cause of death was an 'illness.' With the change of political power, however, the hospital changed the cause to 'external injuries,'” said Rep. Lee Dong-sup of the opposition People’s Party. Paek was the doctor in charge of treating Baek.
Rep. Suh told Suh, “As a person in charge for this mistake, you should apologize to the public and step down from SNUH’s presidency.”
Rep. Lee Jong-bae of the opposition Liberty Korea Party also noted that Suh had said he respected Professor Paek’s opinion during last year’s audit but had SNUH correct the cause of Baek’s death under a changed regime. “You have been conforming to political pressure, each time. You are unfit for the post and should resign,” Lee said.
Lawmakers of the ruling Democratic Party also urged Suh to quit.
Rep. Noh Woong-rae said the SNUH’s correction of the cause of Baek’s death seriously hurt the hospital’s credibility. He also said SNUH has come under fire for allegedly exploiting nurses’ labor with low wages.
“You’re involved in the former President Park Geun-hye’s influence-peddling scandal, and you’re also on suspicion of receiving bribes. Don’t you feel responsible for this situation? You should be held accountable and step down,” Noh said.
Rep. Sohn Hye-won of Democratic Party questioned why Suh would not budge from the SNUH head post when the previous administration lost power with the former president Park ousted and her long-time confidante Choi Soon-sil jailed. “Isn’t now the time for you to resign?” Sohn asked Suh.
However, Suh refused to quit, saying, “I will do my best during my remaining term.”
He clarified that the hospital’s correction of the cause of the death had nothing to do with the change of the administration.
“The change was made, following the lawsuits by Baek’s bereaved family. The correction was based on the change of the opinion of the doctor in charge, not on the change of the hospital’s stance,” Suh said.
He also expressed his regret over the death of Baek, for the first time in public.
“I have never expressed my opinion over the incident of the late Baek Nam-gi. Let me take this opportunity to say that I feel regretful. I pray that he could rest in peace,” Suh said.
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