SEOUL, Jan. 31 (Korea Bizwire) — A nurse who committed suicide after struggling with an excessive workload caused by COVID-19 has been recognized by the court as having died on duty.
The Seoul Administrative Court recently ruled in favor of the family of the late nurse, who sued the Minister of Personnel Management.
The nurse, Lee Han-na, worked at a public health clinic in Busan and was charged with COVID-19-related tasks from early 2020 until she took her own life in May 2021.
Prior to her suicide, Lee worked 76.6 hours of overtime every month for six months. She was designated as a cohort quarantine manager, a position notorious for excessive work.
In July of the same year, her family asked the Ministry of Personnel Management to recognize Lee as having died on hazardous duty and provide compensation.
The Ministry of Personnel Management, however, recognized her as having passed away on ordinary duty, arguing that she didn’t qualify for the requirements listed in the Public Officials’ Accident Compensation Act.
“The deceased had to fight the fear of being exposed to the virus at any time,” the court said, deciding that her duty was indeed ‘hazardous’.
“The deceased had to work under the heavy pressure of curbing the spread of infections amid a lack of proper quarantine guidelines,” the court added. “That must have added to the mental stress she had to endure.”
Lina Jang (email@example.com)