SEOUL, Oct. 2 (Korea Bizwire) — More than half of all patients brought to the emergency room are mildly ill, while only 7 in 100 come for serious emergencies.
Experts are pointing out that this is the result of exploiting emergency rooms as a route to enter large hospitals, undermining the original responsibilities of emergency rooms to treat emergency cases.
Rep. Kim Sang-hee of the ruling Democratic Party reported that the number of patients visiting emergency rooms reached 2.76 million in the first half of 2019, up from 5.5 million in 2016 in terms of the rate of increase.
Mildly ill patients consisted of more than half of all those visiting emergency rooms, while the proportion of those suffering from serious illnesses dropped from 8.3 percent in 2016 to 6.9 percent in the first half of 2019.
Patients with serious illnesses, however, slightly increased from 36.3 percent of the total in 2016 to 39.6 percent in the first half of 2019.
Among advanced general hospitals or other general hospitals with more than 300 sick beds, 36 hospitals are designated as regional emergency medical centers by law.
While they are legally required to focus on treating emergency patients with serious illnesses, they only account for more or less 10 percent of the total patients visiting the emergency room.
At 13 regional emergency medical centers, mildly ill patients accounted for more than half of all visitors at the emergency room in the first half of 2019.
“The medical delivery system, as well as the emergency medical system should be overhauled to prevent excessive concentration of patients at large-sized hospitals,” said Kim.
H. M. Kang (email@example.com)