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Certain Hospitals Are Attracting Patients Illegally

Posted March. 02, 2002 10:29,   


An office woman, Lee (28. Sungnam city, Kyeonggi), is feeling seriously regretful of the unplanned plastic operation she had when she followed a friend, who wished to have an eyelid operation at the end of last year, to visit `K` plastic surgery that is located in Kangnam’s Abgujung-dong, Seoul. While waiting for her friend, she fell into a consultant’s temptation that she “would look prettier with the eyelid operation.” Lee accepted the offer of paying “only 3 million won for both nose and eyelids lifts”, and decided on the spot to have an operation.

Lee said, “Although it was little cheaper than other hospitals, I don’t see much difference when I look in mirror. I feel as if I was possessed to have done something unnecessary, and I regret it.”

Certain beauty- related hospitals and surgeons, including plastic surgery, are illegally attracting patients to an extreme level. They hire talkative consultants, so-called `receptionists`, to persuade patients to sign for operations.

Actual Conditions-

Hwang (32. female) has a big cheekbone that sticks out, and she wants to have a facial surgery. However, she has not made her decision yet, as she cannot trust the consultants’ fancy rhetoric with her face.

“It wasn’t easy to decide because it cost 10,000 won even to talk to a consultant, who is not even a doctor, and besides, each surgeon suggested different surgeries”, said Hwang.

Such situations are not only for plastic surgery, but also common for non-health insured medical parts like ophthalmology, dermatology, and urology. Also, the patient-attraction is actively happening through online `medical joint-purchase` and `medical premium` sections. Medical joint-purchase is a system for attracting 5 to 10 patients together online with 10-30 Per Cent discounts. Certain sites, which draw lots for subscribed users to provide free Lasik, plastic nose, eyelids, and breast enlarging surgeries, are recently appearing one after another.


Competitions for such patient-attraction are worsening after private hospitals began to increase in number. The problem is that as private hospitals grow in number and competitions become severe, delicate medical activities are being sold like general products.

Besides, joint purchase or premium surgeries touch many body parts in a short amount of time, which risk side effects and improper insurance because they are free.

Ministry of Health & Welfare authorities pointed out, “It is the patients, who lack in specialized medical knowledge, that suffer from the surgeons’ excessive competitions.”

Medical specialists are also insisting on thorough control and restrictions against illegal patient-attraction of beauty- related hospitals and surgeons.

The Korean Association of Private Hospitals press director, Kuk Kwang-Sik pointed out, “There is a sense of need for amending present medical laws that are one-sided for advertisements, but current situations of beauty- related hospitals including plastic surgery are little too extreme.”

He also said, “Along with the government’s thorough control, surgeons themselves must strive to keep their own ethics and dignity as doctors.”

Chang-Won Kim changkim@donga.com