A surgeon writing in the Seoul diocesan bulletin mentions that a doctor's best years begin when he turns 50. Wisdom, experience and technique all come together at that time, he says. Preparing for an operation, he disinfects his hands, reads the prayer he has tacked on his wall, and all his tenseness disappears. He is now ready, he says, to decide the best way to approach the surgery.
surgery is his specialty.
He was the one who introduced thoracoscopic surgery to the field 20
years ago and continued to develop the procedure in the following years.
In the past it was necessary to make
an incision over 20 cm wide and force the ribs apart with instruments.
Today only a small cut is made to allow special micro-instruments to
enter the body for the endoscopy.
this procedure less of the skin is cut, resulting in less tissue
damage; recuperation is quicker and there is less pain. The procedure is
especially helpful for those who have weak constitutions and the elderly.
doctors when compared to doctors in other
countries have a good reputation in performing these thoracoscopic
surgeries. The reason, the doctor speculates, is that Koreans have been
using chopsticks to eat since childhood, giving them the
that a surgeon needs to be successful.
Surgery in Korea, he says, is second to none wherever it is practiced in
of operations have been performed with this thoracoscopic procedure, and recently there
has been a great deal of success using it for cancer of the lungs. When
diagnosed early, the chances of extending life is very good. And one way
to prevent lung cancer, the doctor reminds us, is not to smoke or to stop smoking if you do.
began to provide health insurance for its citizens in 1977,
which has developed into universal health insurance for all. The country has good medical schools and a good distribution of
doctors. Recently doctors have been against government plans to
allow for-profit hospitals and the introduction of telemedicine ( the remote diagnosis and treatment of patients by means of telecommunications technology). Doctors have been strongly opposed to this plan and have gone on strike to make their feelings known publicly.
is little doubt, that Korea is one of the
leaders in many fields of medicine, and that many patients will come to
Korea for these procedures because they tend to be less expensive
here, and performed with less trouble and greater
competency than can be provided in the patients' own country.