A nurse at Seoul Medical Center has killed herself on Saturday due to alleged bullying at work, its labor union said.
The public hospital’s labor union under the Seoul branch of the Korean Public Service and Transport Workers’ Union said on Friday that the nurse committed suicide because of “taeum,” a common bullying culture among nurses where seniors bully juniors and newcomers. Taeum means “burn to ashes” in Korean.
According to the labor union, the deceased has been working at the hospital for five years since 2013. She moved to the nursing administration department on Dec. 18 and took her own life in 12 days. After the move, the nurse reportedly complained about psychological pain over the new department members’ hostile attitude and behaviors.
The trade union claimed that the hospital was covering up her death intentionally, and called for a thorough investigation.
Although the bereaved family visited the hospital to see the hospital’s president, the president refused to meet them, the labor union said. The hospital did not mention anything about an investigation on the death of the nurse or punishment on those responsible, it added.
“The hospital is adding significant pain to the bereaved family by defaming the deceased. It should immediately start a thorough probe,” the labor union said. “The hospital should clarify how the decision was made to change the department for the deceased, what happened after she moved to the nursing administration department, and how the hospital responded after her death.”
The labor union emphasized that if an investigation reveals what the hospital did wrong, not only offenders but the hospital’s head and the Seoul Metropolitan Government should be held accountable.
The labor union urged the hospital to reflect workers’ opinions when establishing measures to protect medical workers from wrongdoings such as bullying.
“We will keep fighting until we can prove the innocence of the deceased and the bereaved family and root out bullying culture in hospitals,” it added.