Korean Medical Association (KMA) has apologized for the controversy caused by a recent series of ghost surgeries but stressed the need for the right to punish its members.
“We cannot repress shock and astonishment for some medical professionals unlawfully let unqualified people, including salespeople of medical equipment manufacturers, took part in surgeries or even allowing them to conduct an operation on behalf of physicians,” KMA said in a statement issued on Monday. “We regret and apologize for such occurrences at a time when the medical community is striving to root out unlicensed medical activities.”
The doctors’ group acknowledged medical practices by people other than physicians are not only unethical activities that can afflict lethal harms on patients but constitute grave crimes in legal terms. KMA then added that it is unacceptable to leave medical practices to non-medical professionals even under inevitable circumstances.
“If physicians, who should put the responsibility for patients’ health and safety ahead of all else, abet, overlook or take the lead in such practices, they must be forgetting their duties,” it said. “Such doctors deserve harsh legal punishment.”
KMA went on to say, “Our association will conduct swift and strict self-investigation into illegal and senseless acts committed by some unethical doctors and medical institutions, reveal what happened in detail, and sternly punish members involved. Besides, we will go ahead with dispelling all acts violating medical laws reporting them to judicial authorities while taking all means available to us, such as the cancellation of licenses.”
KMA then expressed its views that the government should allow the self-disciplinary authority to the association for the self-purification of the medical community.
“Most medical professionals doing their best in the field are expressing not just shock and astonishment but enragement with the recent incidents, keenly feeling the need for enhancing self-purifying capacity,” it said. KMA then called for the government to give it powerful and substantive right to punish violators so that it can root some unethical acts of some physicians.
Later in the day, seven doctors and nurses in Busan were caught letting medical equipment salespeople conduct surgeries and manipulating medical records after patients fall into brain dead situations.
And Ulsan Police Agency sent 22 medical workers – eight doctors, eight nurses and six assistant nurses – to the prosecution asking for indictment without physical detention on Sept. 20, for violating Healthcare Offenses Law.
According to the police, these violators were known to have relegated Caesarian operations, laparoscopic suture surgery, incontinence surgery and gynoplastics to nursing assistants on more than 700 occasions since December 2014.
Korea Biomedical Review has also published an exclusive article about the state-run National Medical Center allegedly letting a salesperson of a medical equipment maker assist spinal surgery.
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