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Health care vacuum causes further suffering

Posted August. 07, 2000 20:48,   


Doctoral fellows joined on August 7 the ongoing general strike led by interns and residents, causing the cancellation of surgical operations nationwide and other inconveniences to the public.

The fellows` participation in the strike comes at a time when some small-scale clinics have also shut down services. While interns, residents and doctoral fellows continue to carry out their duties at intensive-care units and emergency rooms in some hospitals, and smaller hospitals are also operating as usual, an expanded doctors` strike could lead to a serious medical care crisis, similar to the one that rocked the nation in June.

Some 1,200 doctoral fellows have refused to see patients since they turned in their resignations, while 12,282 or 79.2 percent of the nation`s interns and residents carry on with their strike.

The rate of clinics` participation in the strike was 16.5 percent, lower than the 24.1 percent reached early last week. However, there are signs that the doctors` struggle may spread, as clinics in Pusan, Taegu and South Cholla Province have decided to join the walkout Aug. 8 or 9. Choi Sun-Jung, who was appointed new minister of health and welfare, expressed his intention to solve the problem through dialogue and listen to medical circles` demands, saying he believes doctors do not intend to give up their practice forever.