The Incheon International Airport Corporation is facing a backlash from the medical community after it announced a plan to operate a 240-square-meter plastic surgery hospital in the transit area of Terminal 2 from next January.
According to a report the airport sent to Rep. Kang Hoon-sik강훈식 of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea last week, the cosmetic surgery hospital can provide operations for passengers at the airport in the process of transferring planes without needing a separate entry procedure.
|Plans to run a plastic surgery clinic in the Incheon International airport has backfired from medical associations opposing the controversial idea.|
The plan aims to attract more foreign patients to the country, as Korea has emerged as one of Asia’s top five medical tourism destinations, according to Pacific Prime Health Insurance.
The number of foreign patients that visited Korea was 364,000 last year, up by 22.7 percent compared to 2015, of which 48,000 patients (11.3 percent), received plastic surgery, the report showed. The most sought-after medical services among Chinese and Japanese patients in Korea were plastic surgeries and dermatological treatments.
The Korean Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons대한성형외과의사회 (KSPRS) criticized the idea; however, saying the plan is hard to understand and could lead to legal problems.
"We are wondering whether the airport has thought about a situation, in which a patient is not able to board a flight after surgery,” an official from the KSPRS said. “Even simple double-eyelid surgery could lead to unexpected problems due to differences in air pressure, and side effects could occur if immunity is lowered due to fatigue from long flights.”
Rep. Kang was also negative. “The airport operator is concentrating only on profitability while planning this controversial project, appearing to overlook after-surgery issues,” he said. “The plan should be reexamined.”
The airport called a tender on Sept. 13 for the operator of a transfer medical institution, but no doctors or medical institutions have shown interest so far.
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