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SMC continues to fight against ministry over MERS damage claim
  • By Choi Gwang-seok
  • Published 2018.12.12 17:20
  • Updated 2018.12.12 17:20
  • comments 0

Samsung Medical Center (SMC) and the Ministry of Health and Welfare are resuming a legal fight over whether the hospital should pay compensation to the government for the damage of the MERS outbreak in 2015.

The ministry on Tuesday appealed the court’s ruling which was made in favor of the Samsung hospital on Nov. 29. “We appealed the decision because we could not accept the ruling,” said an official at the ministry’s Disease Policy Division.

Earlier, the ministry ordered SMC to suspend operation for 15 business days, accusing it of delaying the report of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome patient and people who contacted the patient after the outbreak.

Considering that suspending hospital business would make patients inconvenient, the ministry told the hospital to pay 8 million won ($7,100) in penalty instead. In keeping with the administrative discipline, the ministry also decided not to pay compensation for MERS damages to SMC.

In response, the hospital-affiliated Samsung Foundation filed an administrative suit against the ministry in May 2017, seeking to nullify the penalty and reverse the ministry’s decision not to pay compensation for MERS damages.

On Nov. 29 this year, the administrative court concluded that the ministry imposed an unfair punishment and upheld the SMC’s stance.

As for the ministry’s refusal to pay damages, the court did not recognize that SMC refused to follow the health and welfare minister’s order. The court concluded that the hospital had fulfilled its duty, responding promptly to the request to submit the list of items designated by epidemiologists.

“We cannot find any motive for Samsung Medical Center to refuse to submit the list of names or to delay it. Thus, we nullify the health and welfare ministry’s penalty imposed on February 2, 2017, and the canceling of payment of compensation for damages on February 10, 2017,” the court said.


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