After a court sentenced one-year jail term on a doctor who ordered a medical device company's salesperson to perform a surgery, a patient group criticized the ruling and called it “a slap on the wrist.”
The Busan District Court on Wednesday sentenced the doctor and the salesman, who was indicted for violating the Medical Service Act, imprisonment of one year and 10 months, respectively.
The Korea Alliance of Patients Organization (KAPO) immediately released a statement saying, “The ruling is disappointing, showing that the court is not aware of the seriousness of ghost surgeries by unauthorized persons.”
It went on to say, “We express disappointment and regret over the ‘slap-on-the-wrist ruling’ on the unauthorized surgery, which was a grave crime.”
The patient group called ghost surgeries by unqualified persons “a new kind of fraud,” which could rock the medical licensing system to the core.
KAPO emphasized that offenders must face strong criminal punishment for hospitals to root out the problem. The group called for the second court’s harsh ruling on the doctor and the salesman.
The patient group also demanded the National Assembly enact a law to install a closed-circuit TV in an operation room mandatorily to prevent ghost surgeries.
“The doctor arbitrarily deleted the CCTV records to get rid of evidence. If the police had not restored the records, we would not have been able to uncover the truth about the ghost surgery,” KAPO said.
The group also demanded lawmakers enact a law to cancel a medical license of a doctor who performs a ghost surgery and to reveal the doctor’s personal information to the public.
The doctor was indicted for ordering the salesman to perform the ghost surgery at his orthopedic clinic in Yeongdo-gu, Busan, in 2018. The patient who received the operation did not wake up from anesthesia, was braindead, and died.