More than 700 civilians visit South Korea’s military hospitals amid doctors’ walkout

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Seoul, April 21 (IANS) Military hospitals in South Korea have treated over 700 civilians since opening their doors to the public at a full scale in mid-February, amid the protracted walkout by trainee doctors, the defence ministry said on Sunday.

Military hospital emergency rooms became fully accessible to civilians to help address concerns of healthcare disruptions after thousands of trainee doctors began the walkout on February 19 in protest of a government plan to sharply increase medical school seats next year, reports Yonhap News Agency.

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

It said 138 patients received surgery or were hospitalised, with 66 of them receiving emergency surgery, including a woman in her 70s in a bicycle 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 severe trauma patients could be sent to military hospitals, noting their expertise in such treatment.



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