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Unlicensed Surgeons Are Practicing Medical Service Publicly

Unlicensed Surgeons Are Practicing Medical Service Publicly

Posted February. 09, 2003 22:31,   


Unlicensed surgeons are practicing medical service publicly in medium-sized hospitals ordered by doctors. Medical assistants or male employees learn medical arts unofficially while helping doctors and then they are doing directly medical performance with doctors.

Owing to lack of orthopedists and neurologists, hospitals tacitly employ the unlicensed and let them participate in special medical treatments. According to the medical community, the unlicensed amount to approximately 500 persons nationally.

The medical community said that quite a few hospitals in local medium-sized hospitals are employing one to three unlicensed persons as orthopedists and neurologists. It is confirmed that they are operating performing special medicine such as hemostasis, suturing and even bonesetting, not to mention preparation for crucial surgeries.

An unlicensed employer in an orthopedics in Pocheon-gun, Gyeonggi Province is leading a surgical operation. He is found to have practiced various treatments during knee-joint substitution operations including stretching ripped parts and hemostasis while operating as well as disinfection and correcting posture. In addition, bonesetting and suturing were performed by the unlicensed employer.

An intern doctor who participated in the surgery said, “The skill of the unlicensed employer with ten-year experience was incredible. Except the part performed by the operating surgeon, the rest of all surgery was performed by him.”

Another unlicensed employer in B hospital in the same region said, “I usually hold the fractured bone in bonesetting procedure or pass over surgical devices or stanch in surgeries. I even do the cast or insert a tube in patients’ urethra.”

Some of those have license for assistant nurse but it is illegal for them to do medical performance.

Assistant nurses are supposed to do simple tasks assisting medical personnel (doctors and nurses) such as adjusting lights, cleaning floors and moving patients.

Main reason for increasing unlicensed physicians is caused by the shortage of surgeons. As most doctors avoid local hospitals, local medium-sized hospitals have suffered from difficulties in employing doctors.

Result of national exam for chest surgical residents in 2003 shows that only 39 were selected (quorum: 70) and showed rate of 55.7%, general surgical residents, 86.8%. On the other hand, popular department such as dermatology and ophthalmology reach the regular number. In addition, most surgical residents avoid working in local hospitals.

For another reason for hiring the unlicensed, the wage for the unlicensed is 1.5 million to 2 million won and it is much lower than that of surgeons.

Doctor, Shin, who runs an orthopedic hospital in Seoul said, “It is an open secret that the local hospitals educates radiologists, paramedics and other employers and then hire as the unlicensed surgeons. It is hard to estimate precisely, but about 500 unlicensed surgeons are hired nationally.”

Jin-Goo Lee Hyo-Lim Son sys1201@donga.com aryssong@donga.com