A North Korean soldier, wounded by shots fired from the North’s patrollers as he defected through the Joint Security Area (JSA) Monday afternoon, is in a “critically ill” condition, the attending physician said Tuesday.
The soldier crossed over to South Korea through the JSA in Panmunjeom at the inter-Korean border at 3:31 p.m. Monday, and was shot five to six times in the process. He sustained bullet wounds in the elbow and shoulder. He was transferred via helicopter to Ajou University Hospital’s trauma center located in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, at 4:40 p.m. and received a five-hour operation.
|Dr. Lee Cook-jong, Ajou University Hospital|
Dr. Lee Cook-jong, a renowned trauma specialist at Ajou University Hospital, is the attending physician.
Lee told reporters Tuesday that the man’s wounded organs were severely infected with fecal matter and that he bled heavily during the operation. The doctor noted that the patient is in a critical condition and that “the next 10 days are crucial.”
The man’s wounds are not healing well because he fell into a shock induced by heavy bleeding during the operation, the physician added, stating that it is too early to say whether the patient is in the clear. The soldier is currently in the intensive care unit and breathing through a life-support device. The patient will need second and third rounds of surgery, the doctor said.
“We will decide (on the second round of surgery) tomorrow or the day after tomorrow after monitoring the patient’s condition,” Lee said. “In principle, we perform the second round of surgery after observing (the patient) for 48 to 72 hours.”
Today, the North Korean defector needs intensive treatment. Medical staffs have used an enormous amount of medication, Lee added.
“The soldier asked me to do my best. I’m trying to save him; he tried to cross over to South Korea. I’m sure everyone else wants the same,” the doctor said.
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