More than 700 civilians visit South Korea’s military hospitals as doctors walk away

SEOUL: Military hospitals in South Korea have treated more than 700 civilians since they fully opened their doors to the public in mid-February amid the prolonged strike by trainee doctors, the Defense Ministry said on Sunday.

Military hospital emergency departments became fully accessible to civilians to allay concerns about healthcare disruptions after thousands of trainee doctors began the strike on February 19 in protest against a government plan to sharply increase the number of medical school places next year. reports Yonhap News Agency.

As of April 19, 768 patients have visited military hospitals nationwide since the strike began, with 397 of them being treated at the Armed Forces Capital Hospital in Seongnam, just south of Seoul, according to the ministry.

It says 138 patients have undergone surgery or been hospitalized, with 66 requiring emergency surgery, including a woman in her 70s who had a cycling accident on April 3.

During a visit to the Armed Forces Capital Hospital on April 18, Prime Minister Han Duck-soo said the government would take measures so that patients with severe trauma could be sent to military hospitals, noting their expertise in such treatments.