SEOUL, March 13 (Korea Bizwire) – As violence against medical staff increases in and outside of hospitals, the medical community has raised its voice to push for the legislation of rules reinforcing punishment against the crimes, in a move to prevent an escalation in these types of incidents.
According to industry sources, there are two pending bills in the National Assembly to prevent violence against the medical staff. One bill calls for at most five years of imprisonment or less than 20 million won in fines for cases of assault or threats against medical staff during the performance of their duties. The other bill appeals for more severe punishment, with no fines but penalties of one to 10 years in prison.
Recently, a dentist assaulted a pediatrician at a general hospital in southern Changwon. The pediatrician was treating the dentist’s daughter. As CCTV footage of the incident has been released, the Korean Medical Association (KMA) asked parliament to pass the related bills without delay.
The KMA said, “Although incidents where doctors are stabbed or assaulted while treating patients or in emergency rooms are increasing, there is no legal mechanism to stop them. In addition, the violence against medical staff during the performance of their duties also affects other patients, who also suffer as they cannot receive treatment.”
According to the KMA, in 2008 a medical doctor at a university hospital was killed by a patient who was strongly dissatisfied with his treatment. In 2012, a doctor was stabbed by a patient suffering from a mental disease while counselling him.
An official at the KMA said, “The two bills have been pending for two years in the assembly. To prepare a safe medical environment, we will try our best to lobby to pass the bill.”
By M. H. Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)