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Doctors’ group files charges against physicians for ghost surgeries
  • By Choi Gwang-seok
  • Published 2018.11.21 15:27
  • Updated 2018.11.21 15:27
  • comments 0

Korean Medical Association said it has decided to take a stern measure against unlicensed medical acts and ghost surgeries at a hospital in Paju, Gyeonggi Province.

KMA President Choi Dae-zip on Tuesday pressed charges against the hospital’s head, administrative director, and a medical device salesperson, with the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office.

At the hospital in Paju, north of Seoul, the administrative director, and the salesman performed surgeries illegally, and two patients died, news reports said.

Korean Medical Association President Choi Dae-zip (center), KMA Spokesperson Park Jong-hyuk (left), and KMA’s Legal Affairs Director Jeon Seong-ryong in front of the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office in southern Seoul, Tuesday.

One of the patients went unconscious after receiving a spine surgery at the hospital and was moved to the intensive care unit in March. However, the patient died in April.

The other patient, who died at the hospital, reportedly received a surgery illegally performed by the administrative director, who had his medical license canceled due to involvement in a bribery case.

“As president of the KMA, I feel terrible about ghost surgeries by unqualified and unauthorized people. We will sternly respond to this case,” Choi told reporters.

If the media reports were accurate, the hospital might have tried to make false surgery reports and cover up the case, he said.

“It would have been impossible (to allow ghost surgeries) without the hospital’s systemic support and control,” he added.

Choi demanded strong punishment against the physicians and the hospital in Paju for the violation of the Medical Service Act and the abandonment of medical ethics.

“The judicial authorities should immediately arrest those involved for an investigation,” he said.

As for the KMA members who breached medical ethics and undermined the dignity of the medical community, KMA will ask for a serious deliberation of the central ethics committee, Choi added. “As soon as we get the results of the deliberation, we will demand the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s administrative punishment,” he said.

Choi emphasized that the KMA needs to have its right to punish its member physicians.

“The national license management system has reached its limitation. Major advanced countries put a separate licensing management body under a professional group,” Choi said.

He hoped that Korea could also establish an independent body to oversee medical licenses and give the KMA discretion to punish physicians so that prompt and effective actions can be taken on matters that are harmful to the public health, such as unqualified and unauthorized ghost surgeries.

However, he opposed, once again, the idea of installing closed-circuit television (CCTV) in operation rooms.

“Doctors perform high-risk surgeries for patients even when they are more likely to die. If CCTV data is submitted as evidence in a lawsuit, doctors won’t try to perform a risky surgery,” Choi said. “Those who get damage out of this will be patients after all. They may be deprived of their right to life.”

Choi worried that it would be almost impossible to delete CCTV data once it gets leaked outside. In that case, the patient in the footage could be in pain for a lifetime, he added.

The KMA said it would actively respond to the issue of ghost surgeries by unqualified and unauthorized people to continue autonomous discipline within the medical community.


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