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Plastic surgeons vow to stamp out malpractice

The nation’s largest group of plastic surgeons vowed Thursday to stamp out illegal medical practices following a string of lethal cosmetic surgery accidents.

“A recent series of plastic surgery accidents were caused by some doctors’ unethical and illegal acts, largely prompted by over-competition and commercialization of medical institutions,” said the Korean Association of Plastic Surgeons in a press conference. “(The association) feels responsible for such situations that threaten people’s health and lives.”

KAPS promised to expel doctors from the group if they perform any illegal procedures and to seek legal action. It will push for the introduction of regulations to control ads promoting plastic surgery in public places as well.

The association also vowed to weed out “shadow doctors” who conduct illegal surgeries while patients are under general anesthesia, threatening legal action, as well.

KAPS discovered that some doctors deliberately injected a large amount of anesthetic drugs into patients to secretly allow shadow doctors to conduct illegal operations. Some even borrowed doctors’ licenses to buy extra anesthetic drugs, the association said.

The press conference came as public opinion on plastic surgery hit a new low in recent months with the accidents. In one case, a 19-year-old girl fell into a coma in December last year while undergoing nose and double eyelid procedures in Seoul.

The girl’s family argued that the patient was put under general anesthesia without their consent. The girl also showed some abnormal signs during the surgery, but was not moved to a large hospital for seven hours, when the body stiffened, the family claimed.

The family sued the doctor who conducted the surgery for alleged medical malpractice.

The association launched an investigation into the incident and expelled the concerned doctor from the group. It also accused the doctor of illegal medical practices.

By Lee Hyun-jeong (