Re­port de­tails North Korean med­i­cal care horror sto­ries

Austin American-Statesman - - FRIDAY BRIEFING -

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea’s health care sys­tem is in shambles, with doc­tors some­times per­form­ing am­pu­ta­tions with­out anes­the­sia and work­ing by can­dle­light in hos­pi­tals lack­ing es­sen­tial medicine, heat and power, a hu­man rights group said Thurs­day.

North Korea’s state health care sys­tem has been de­te­ri­o­rat­ing for years amid the coun­try’s eco­nomic dif­fi­cul­ties. Many of its 24 mil­lion peo­ple re­port­edly face health prob­lems re­lated to chronic mal­nu­tri­tion, such as tu­ber­cu­lo­sis and ane­mia, Amnesty In­ter­na­tional said in a re­port on the state of the health care sys­tem.

A 24-year-old de­fec­tor from northeastern Hamky­ong prov­ince told Amnesty that a doc­tor am­pu­tated his left leg from the calf down with­out anes­the­sia af­ter his an­kle was crushed in a train ac­ci­dent.

“Five med­i­cal as­sis­tants held my arms and legs down to keep me from mov­ing. I was in so much pain that I screamed and even­tu­ally fainted from pain,” said the man, iden­ti­fied only by his fam­ily name, Hwang.

“I was scream­ing so much from the pain I thought I was go­ing to die. They had tied my hands and legs to pre­vent me from mov­ing,” said a 56year-old woman from Mu­san who had an ap­pen­dec­tomy with­out anes­the­sia.

The re­port was based on in­ter­views with more than 40 North Kore­ans who have de­fected, mostly to South Korea, as well as or­ga­ni­za­tions and health care pro­fes­sion­als who work with North Kore­ans. Amnesty re­searchers did not have ac­cess to North Korea, one of the world’s most closed coun­tries.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.