A hospital in Ulsan specializing in obstetrics and gynecology allegedly allowed nursing assistants to perform cesarean sections and incontinence operations more than 710 times, the police said Thursday.
The Ulsan Regional Police Agency sent 22 people – eight physicians, including the head of the hospital, eight nurses, and six assistant nurses – to the prosecutor’s office, recommending indictment without detention.
|A nursing assistant at a hospital in Ulsan illegally performs surgery in place of a physician. (Credit: Ulsan Regional Police Agency)|
Immediately after a news report showed a video of a nursing assistant at the hospital performing an operation in May, the police began investigations and analyzed records of surgeries, medical examinations, anesthesia, and security camera footages. The police booked 22 people for the investigations.
According to the police, the doctors have ordered a nursing assistant to perform cesarean sections or laparoscopic sutures, and incontinence surgeries about 700 times since December 2014. The physicians also instructed another nurse to do cesarean sections and sutures.
The head of the hospital and yet another nurse ordered an employee, who has no license in the medical field, to assist in the operation room, including sterilizing the affected part of the patient. The other nurses and nursing assistants are on charges of aiding and abetting unlicensed medical activities.
Through such activities, the head of the hospital allegedly raked about 1 billion won ($892,800) in reimbursement from the National Health Insurance Service, the police said.
To prevent illegal medical practices, the police plans to request the Ministry of Health and Welfare to consider enacting a law to thoroughly record who went in and out of an operation room, install a security camera at the entrance of an operation room, and allow the recording of a surgery with a high risk of a medical mishap at the request of a patient or a guardian.
Patients and their families should pay extra attention as medical practices by an unauthorized person could cause a serious and significant risk during or after surgery, the police said.
“As it is extremely difficult to monitor the medical sector from outside, we need an insider’s reporting. We strictly guarantee the anonymity of the informant. We plan to closely work with relevant agencies to prevent unlicensed medical care, illicit use of drugs, and illegal hospital operations,” it added.
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