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2 hospitals accused of ordering physician assistants to do doctors’ work
  • By Lee Min-ju
  • Published 2018.12.12 14:37
  • Updated 2018.12.12 14:37
  • comments 0

A hospitals’ group pressed charges against two tertiary hospitals for ordering physician assistants (PA) to perform surgeries or run risky medical exams without the supervision of a physician.

The incidents came after some hospitals came under fire for allowing unlicensed medical device salespersons to perform ghost surgeries.

The Korean Hospital Doctors Association said it filed a complaint with the two tertiary hospitals to the prosecutor’s office on Monday. The association took action against the two hospitals first because illegal medical acts at the two were most severe and evident among cases reported to the association, the KHDA said.

According to the association, a tertiary general hospital had PAs, not surgeons, perform all sutures in surgeries. If PAs did all the sutures, their scope of medical acts in operation rooms could be very wide, it said.

“Letting PAs to take care of all the sutures is no different from the recent ghost surgery case which made the public furious,” the KHDA said. “It is shocking that surgical acts by unqualified persons are prevalent in even tertiary general hospitals.”

The other tertiary hospital let PAs perform a bone-marrow biopsy, aimed to diagnose various blood and tumorous diseases, the association said. The procedure involves piercing a pelvic bone, inserting a device, and extracting bone marrow. During the puncture, pelvic organs may be damaged. Physicians should pay extra attention because dizziness, pain, and bleeding may occur after the procedure.

The KHDA also received a report that the hospital’s cardiac department and the pediatric department ordered nurses or radiology technicians to perform an echocardiogram test without the supervision of a doctor. It was shocking that PAs not only ran the test but entered results and physicians signed it only later on.

“Bone marrow biopsy by PAs, not doctors, is a serious, unacceptable 뭉 illegal act. Engaging in such illicit acts is to deceive patients who trusted the hospital,” the KHDA said.

After filing the complaint, the association urged prosecutors and the police to carry out a thorough investigation by securing related data such as closed-circuit television footages.

“The latest charge is just a beginning. We will keep press charges against hospitals in which illegal acts were reported to us and continue additional measures to root out illegal medical acts,” the KHDA said.


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