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NMC hunts down whistleblower, makes workers ‘nervous’
  • By Lee Min-ju
  • Published 2018.10.16 14:22
  • Updated 2018.10.16 14:22
  • comments 0

The National Medical Center is reportedly going after a whistleblower who revealed that the hospital allowed a medical device salesperson to assist a spinal surgery.

According to NMC staffs, the hospital is leaking a rumor that a specific worker is the informant, and closely monitoring suspicious employees and the reactions around them.

The employees added that the hospital was warning to them that “if they tell the police a wrong story, the police would call them frequently and bother a lot.” The hospital is trying to hush down the case, the NMC workers said.

The photo sent by the informant shows the salesman with a pink scrub cap allegedly assisting the spinal surgery at the National Medical Center, on Sept. 12.

Some staffs even said that when the NMC’s audit team and the public health center were investigating those associated with the case, the hospital executives ordered them to avoid making a statement.

The source, who initially revealed the NMC case to Korea Biomedical Review, said the hospital was making up a rumor about an informant to catch the whistleblower.

“I feel scared, and surprised at the same time, about what is going on in the hospital,” the informant said.

The anonymous source said the hospital verbally ordered the head nurse to tell nurses at operation rooms to say, “I don’t remember anything,” if they have to testify during the investigation.

“In this situation, I wonder the public health center could carry out a decent probe into the NMC at all,” the source said.

The source said that the surgeon who had the unlicensed salesman’s assistance in the spinal surgery kept working at the hospital.

However, employees at the NMC are frightened by the hospital’s hunt-down.

“I reported the case because I couldn’t let the patient be unaware of the illegal surgery and couldn’t allow the surgeon to get away with his illegal medical practice. But I feel sorry for hospital staffs that I made them nervous,” the informer said.

Another NMC official also said the hospital has tried to play down its illegal practices done over the past several years.

“I was wondering whether the hospital’s audit team would do the right investigation because it would reveal the NMC’s embarrassing practices,” the official said. “No doubt, the hospital is trying to cover up many illegal practices of the past several years and reveal the latest case only. But if we don’t uncover them all, there will be additional victims.”

However, the NMC flatly denied all the allegations from the two informants.

“We heard that the hospital was trying to hunt down the informant and we checked with the nursing department. But nurses said there was no such a word,” another NMC official said. “The head nurse has never asked nurses to avoid making a statement.”

The public health center, which is investigating the NMC’s case, declined to comment.


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