Heart disease patient in her 60s dies after surgery delay amid medical vacuum

SEOUL, A heart disease patient in her 60s died last month while waiting for surgery after about five hours spent searching for a university hospital willing to admit her for the operation, sources said Wednesday. The woman sought help via the 119 emergency rescue number after experiencing chest pain while working at a farming field in Gimhae, 303 kilometers southeast of Seoul, on March 31, according to various sources. Rescue workers first contacted six hospitals in the wider South Gyeongsang Province for her admission, only to be refused by all. Then they were informed that a hospital in the nearby city of Busan could see the patient although any surgery was impossible. She underwent various medical tests for 2 1/2 hours there and was diagnosed with aortic dissection. Finally she was moved to a general university hospital in Busan, where emergency surgery was available. Nearly five hours after seeking emergency help, the patient was about to go under surgery but eventually died at night while being pre pared for the operation. Her daughter expressed deep grief for the loss of her mother and complained about the continuing medical vacuum as a possible cause. "I am very upset and sad at the thought that my mother may have survived if she had been admitted to a general university hospital in the first place," the daughter said. "It's deplorable that the possibility of her survival may have been lost due to the medical vacuum, although I cannot say for sure that she would have survived if she had been immediately operated on," she said. The death is the latest in a series of serious patient damage cases reported as the collective walkout by trainee doctors continues for nearly two months without signs of a breakthrough in protest against the government's increase of the medical school admission quota. Source: Yonhap News Agency