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Needle removed from former President Roh’s lung

Former President Roh Tae-woo had an acupuncture needle removed from his lung on Thursday, Seoul National University Hospital confirmed Friday.

The hospital refused to elaborate on how or when the needle penetrated Roh’s lung, which caused the 78-year-old former state leader to check into the hospital two days earlier.

“The 6.5 centimeter-long material had a small part of ‘handle’ which is used in Oriental acupuncture practice,” Dr. Sung Myung-whun said at the press briefing. The hospital disclosed photographs of the needle and Roh’s lung.

Sung said Roh is recovering fast and there were no complications. He added that Roh could be discharged soon.

Rumors are flying about how the needle got to be in Roh’s lung. Roh has reportedly been wearing respiratory tubes after receiving a tracheotomy for bronchial problems. Sources also said he had received Oriental acupuncture on many parts of his body.

Oriental medical doctors flatly denied that their practice could penetrate a lung.

“But I can’t figure out how the needle got into there. It is a mystery for me, too,” Sung said, refusing speculate.

By Bae Ji-sook (baejisook@heraldcorp.com)
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