The Korea Herald


Severance hospital treats patients with skill, experience

By 배지숙

Published : April 7, 2011 - 17:35

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

Severance Hospital’s international health care center is the oldest medical facility dedicated to foreign patients in Korea.

Established in 1962, the clinic has looked after tens of thousands of foreigners residing in Korea. Recently, it has expanded its care to foreigners outside the country seeking for affordable, state-of-the-art treatments. Last year, the center treated 34,000 foreign patients including 1,150 inpatients.

“The more cases you have piled up, the more credits you get from people,” Dr. John Linton, the head of the clinic, said adding that many expats are introduced to the clinic through word of mouth. Mothers bring their daughters who bring their own children, and that’s how the clinic has managed to establish its reputation among the expat community. Sitting at the reception hall of the center, one can see a whole range of patients ― from babies to elderly people.
Dr. John Linton (right) director of Severance Hospital International Health Care Center, examines a foreign patient. (Severance Hospital) Dr. John Linton (right) director of Severance Hospital International Health Care Center, examines a foreign patient. (Severance Hospital)

The center added health checkup services necessary for visa issuance for six countries ― U.S., China, Canada, Philippines, Australia and New Zealand.

Severance gained international recognition when it became the first Korean hospital to be accredited by the Joint Commission International in 2007. Based on that achievement, the hospital managed to attract over 60 foreign insurance firms, which has led overseas patients to pick Korea as their medical destination.

Severance is probably best known for robotic surgery, which is effective for delicate and complex areas such as the prostate gland. Robotic surgery minimizes bleeding and risk of complications.

The hospital was the first to adopt the devices and now holds the record for the number of robot surgeries. “You walk in to the hospital and can walk out within couple of days without feeling too much pain,” Linton said.

Tomotherapy, i-MRI and other cutting-edge devices also boost the hospital’s profile.

But Linton says it is the sophisticated and delicate performances of the doctors that are the strength of the hospital. “They are sincere, diligent and most of all, friendly enough to assist you with everything. Call, and try,” he said.

By Bae Ji-sook (

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