Internet InfoMedia south koreas doctors walkout spurs thousands of complaints
Internet InfoMedia 00skorea doctors 01 whjp facebookJumbo

Thousands of interns and residents who stopped working in February are testing the public’s high regard for physicians. But there is also anger at the government.

Six weeks after thousands of residents and interns at South Korean hospitals walked off the job, frustration is rising.

Patients have filed more than 2,000 complaints about surgeries and other treatments being postponed, canceled or refused, according to the national health ministry. Hospitals have closed wards and restructured staff. Nurses have taken on duties usually performed by physicians, and military doctors have been deployed to public health centers.

Much of the anger over the disruptions is aimed at President Yoon Suk Yeol, who has not backed down from his proposal to dramatically expand medical school admissions to address a shortage of physicians. The young doctors who walked out in February to protest that plan say it wouldn’t solve the health care system’s problems.

But many people are also exasperated with the doctors, despite the exalted position that physicians hold in South Korea’s hierarchical society. Critics accuse them of trying to protect their elite status, and their income, by keeping the number of doctors low.

“Doctors are one of the richest and most powerful groups in Korea,” said Lee Chun-hee, a 26-year-old office worker in Seoul. “They need to be humbled.”

In a televised speech on Monday, President Yoon Suk Yeol defended his plan to admit 2,000 more students to medical schools starting next year, but he also signaled a willingness to negotiate.Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters

We are having trouble retrieving the article content.

Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.


Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.


Thank you for your patience while we verify access.

Already a subscriber? Log in.

Want all of The Times? Subscribe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *