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[Ferry Disaster] Ferry survivors suffering from extreme stress, anxiety

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Published : 2014-04-18 21:17
Updated : 2014-04-18 21:17

A majority of young survivors from the ferry disaster are suffering from severe stress and anxiety, which are likely to require months of treatment, hospitals officials said Friday.

Of the 179 rescued passengers from the ferry Sewol, 76 survivors, mostly Danwon High School students, are getting treatment at Korea University Ansan Hospital in Ansan, Gyeonggi Province.

“We have conducted the stress level test on 55 survivors as of today, and most of them have shown severe stress,” Cha Sang-hun, the chief of the hospital, said in a briefing.

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most severe, the stress level of the survivors averaged at over 8, which indicated serious depression and anxiety, Cha said.

Hospital officials said it would likely take between one month to a year for the patients to recover from the stress and shock of their ordeal with the help of proper treatment.

Some students suffered partial memory loss of the accident, others complained about backache or muscle pain, which resulted from their desperate attempts to get out of the sinking ship, such as hanging on the rail of the ship, according to the hospital.

The hospital vowed to operate a mental health center to help survivors to recover fast and return to normal life. Parents of the students will also get medical care.

Representatives of the parents, school officials and government officials discussed ways to help treat students once they are discharged from the hospital, Cha said. The details will be finalized through negotiation, he added.

Meanwhile, a 48-year-old mother of a missing student at Danwon High School was taken to hospital after having breathing problems. As she turned out to have had heart surgery, the emergency crew transported her to a large hospital.

By Lee Hyun-jeong (rene@heraldcorp.com)

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