The Korea Herald


Expats favor Soon Chun Hyang

By 배지숙

Published : April 14, 2011 - 17:33

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International health care center aims to make patients feel at home

This is the third in a series of articles on international clinics at major medical centers in Seoul. ― Ed.

Soon Chun Hyang University Hospital in Hannam-dong, central Seoul, made international headlines last month when its doctors successfully performed gastric resection on two severely obese women from New Zealand

Making the procedure all the more impressive, their own doctors had refused to perform the procedure due to the high risk involved.

The doctors said that within a year, under the tight regulation of overall lifestyle, the two will be able to shed 55 kilograms each. The patients became the first two members of the Weightcare Korea program jointly conducted by the hospital, the government and a medical tourism agency. The government vowed more support for the program.

Soon Chun Hyang has been one of the most trusted medical centers in Seoul among expats and is now expanding its range outside the country. It hasn’t yet made flamboyant marketing efforts to promote medical tourism, but its international health care center received more than 10,000 visitors last year. 
Dr. Yoo Byung-wook (left) consults with patients at Soon Chun Hyang University Hospital International Health Care Center Dr. Yoo Byung-wook (left) consults with patients at Soon Chun Hyang University Hospital International Health Care Center

Alongside its success in obesity treatment, the state-of-the-art Gastroenterology Center is the oldest yet the most trend-setting department in the nation. The department brought about the hospital’s renaissance with endoscopic surgeries in hybrid-knots, photodynamic therapy and lithotomy dealing with a range of conditions from appendix removal to gastric cancer treatment.

Dr. Yoo Byung-wook of the international health care center said the real strength of the center is the intensive and tailored personal service that draws foreigners to the hospital. Within 24 hours of the initial diagnosis, one can get a full schedule of the treatment plan, including arrangement for surgeries at other departments of the hospital. The hospital does not require additional tests if one brings adequate test results from their home countries.

The one-on-one consultation and treatment is personalized and intimate. Doctors follow the timeline and the change of health status closely and accurately enough so that it feels like having a family practitioner. Its Maternal and Children’s Clinic services, ranging from obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics and neonatal pediatrics, also helps patients feel comfortable about the most sensitive matters.

“We are taking steps slowly but surely. Our mission is to make foreign patients feel at home in a scary hospital environment, not to miss the best quality medical service,” Yoo said. “We don’t measure this in simple patient numbers but in what service each has received. By far, it is going pretty well.”

By Bae Ji-sook (

Soon Chun Hyang University Hospital International Health Care Center

•Business hours:  Monday to Friday: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. 

•Saturday: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

•For reservations, call (82)-2-709-9158. For emergencies, call (82)-709-9119, but the service is available in Korean only.

•Interpretation service available in English, Japanese and French. Physicians can give consultation in English, Spanish and Japanese.

•How to get there: Exit from Hannam Station of metro Jungang line and take a taxi. It costs 2,400 won ($2.2.)

•For more information, visit