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Is it not because of government-medical group conflict?

Posted April. 22, 2024 07:50,   

Updated April. 22, 2024 07:50


Following the submission of collective resignations by residents, the government-established ‘Doctor Collective Action Damage Reporting and Support Center' received 2,392 damage consultations over two months until Wednesday. However, there seemed to be no instances where a connection with the mass resignation was acknowledged. Some reporters expressed frustration, saying, "It has been some time since I submitted the report, but I have not received any response." Additionally, while the government announced plans to actively offer legal support to citizens reporting damage, there were no reported cases of actual support for lawsuits.

Since the onset of the doctors' collective action, concerns about incidents labeled as "emergency room drifting" have persisted, wherein patients seeking emergency treatment pass away while attempting to secure admission to a hospital. Nonetheless, the government has already concluded that three cases reported in the media, including that of a man in his 60s with aortic dissection in Gimhae, South Gyeongsang Province, who died after being denied entry to six hospitals, were not directly linked to the medical workforce shortage. The medical community further asserts, "These patients were beyond rescue even with timely transportation." It presents an ironic scenario where both the government and the medical community concur that these incidents are unrelated to the departure of medical residents despite their disagreement over increasing the number of medical schools.

Conversely, bereaved families are voicing concerns, questioning whether the medical workforce shortage may have contributed to a loss of survival opportunities. They perceive both the government and the medical community as responding passively to the potential consequences of reduced emergency room operations or a decrease in surgical staff due to the departure of medical residents, leading to substandard treatment. Patient groups suspect that "neither side wants to admit to the medical workforce shortage for fear of public backlash." If the conclusion points to a medical workforce shortage, neither the government, which pushed for the expansion of medical schools nor the departing doctors will likely take proactive measures, as they would become embroiled in a controversy over responsibility that they cannot easily escape.

As the legislative conflict persists, trust in the medical system continues to erode, amplifying patient anxiety. Furthermore, with the impending resignation of medical school professors who also serve as medical residents starting on Thursday, the likelihood of disruptions in medical care escalating is high. Critically ill patients express their concerns, saying, "I honestly fear I won't receive timely treatment if I suddenly collapse." For them, it's a matter of life and death. There is no greater urgency for the government and the medical community to come together and swiftly devise a solution.