South Korean Military Hospitals Treat Over 700 Civilians Amid Doctors' Walkout

South Korea's military hospitals treat over 700 civilians amid doctors' walkout, highlighting the government's efforts to ensure continued access to medical care during the dispute.

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Mahnoor Jehangir
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South Korean Military Hospitals Treat Over 700 Civilians Amid Doctors' Walkout

South Korean Military Hospitals Treat Over 700 Civilians Amid Doctors' Walkout

In response to the ongoing doctors' walkout in South Korea, military hospitals have treated over 700 civilians since mid-February 2024, with 138 patients receiving surgery or hospitalization, according to the defense ministry on April 21, 2024. The military hospital emergency rooms became fully accessible to civilians to help address concerns of health care shortages caused by the protracted walkout by trainee doctors.

As of April 19, 768 patients have visited military hospitals nationwide, with 397 of them being treated at the Armed Forces Capital Hospital in Seongnam, just south of Seoul. 66 patients received emergency surgery, including a woman in her 70s who was in a bicycle accident on April 3.

The walkout began on February 19 when thousands of trainee doctors began protesting a government plan to sharply increase medical school seats next year. The plan aims to address a shortage of doctors in rural areas and to support the country's public health system.

Why this matters: The ongoing doctors' strike in South Korea has raised concerns about disruptions to the country's healthcare system. The military's response in treating civilians highlights the severity of the situation and the government's efforts to ensure continued access to medical care during the dispute.

Prime Minister Han Duck-soo stated that the government would take measures to ensure that severe trauma patients could be sent to military hospitals, noting their expertise in such treatment. "The government will continue to work to minimize any disruptions to the medical system and to ensure that all citizens have access to necessary care," Han said in a statement.

Key Takeaways

  • Over 700 civilians treated in South Korean military hospitals due to doctors' walkout
  • 138 patients received surgery or hospitalization at military hospitals since mid-February 2024
  • Trainee doctors protested government plan to increase medical school seats to address rural doctor shortage
  • Military hospitals fully accessible to civilians to address healthcare shortages during walkout
  • Government to ensure severe trauma patients can be sent to military hospitals during dispute