The Korea Herald


ER admission delay leads to death of cardiac arrest patient

By Yoon Min-sik

Published : Feb. 26, 2024 - 17:54

    • Link copied

(Yonhap) (Yonhap)

Admission delays at emergency rooms were reported across South Korea amid a walkout by trainee doctors, while a cardiac arrest patient in her 80s died in an ambulance in Daejeon while emergency workers tried to find an ER that would admit her.

According to local media reports on Monday, the patient suffered heart failure on Friday and was taken away by an ambulance. The emergency workers were turned away by seven hospitals, who told them that they did not have medical staff or hospital beds to treat her.

The woman was accepted at a university hospital in Daejeon some 53 minutes after the cardiac arrest was reported but she was pronounced dead on arrival.

According to the Daejeon Fire Headquarters, there had been 23 cases of admission delays in the city during the past week, with 18 of them occurring over the weekend.

There were 42 cases of admission delays for emergency patients in Busan, with patients having to be admitted at hospitals in adjacent cities in six cases.

The recent walkout by trainee doctors across the country has been affecting patients, as the country suffers from a lack of medical staff. As of Monday, 10,034 trainee doctors have submitted their resignation and 9,006 of them have walked out of their jobs before their resignations were accepted.

The number of those who abandoned their work account for nearly 70 percent of the trainee doctors in South Korea. The government issued a warning that it could begin suspending the licenses of trainee doctors next month unless they return to work.

The doctors have taken collective action in protest of the government's move to increase the annual enrollment quota for medical schools by 2,000.