South Koreans pin their hopes on Lee Cook Jong, the trauma surgeon at Ajou University Hospital, as a North Korean soldier, who made death-defying escape under a hail of bullets to seek for liberty, regains his consciousness.
By Anna Kim
Lee Cook Jong, a South Korean trauma surgeon, is getting attention worldwide as he saves the life of a North Korean soldier who was riddled with bullets and bleeding out after a daring escape across the border of the JSA.
According to Dr. Lee, the North Korean, aka Oh Chung Sung, 24, was shot badly and it was still touch-and-go when he was airlifted to the trauma center at the Ajou University Hospital in Seoul on Nov. 13. The defector Oh was struck through his right knee joint, the tricep muscle area on his arm, his back and chest, and his shoulder. He underwent life-saving surgery.
At that time, Dr. Lee described the defector as a “broken jar.”
“His vital signs were so unstable, he was dying of low blood pressure, he was dying of shock,” said Dr. Lee. "He was like a broken jar. We couldn’t put enough blood into him. He lost more than half of his blood.”
One of the most shocking factors to Mr. Oh’s operation was that more than fifty 10 inch-long parasitic worms were found in his intestines while Dr. Lee was working to repair at least seven wounds in his perforated bowel.
Dr. Lee delivered a medical briefing about Mr. Oh’s operation in the press conference and Kim Jong Dae, lawmaker, bashed him on facebook for unveiling the soldier’s condition in detail. He called Dr. Lee a human rights terrorist.
Mr. Kim stated, “The soldier’s human right was degraded by Dr. Lee’s vivid description of excrement and parasites, which contaminated the soldier’s intestines. I also have a concern that Dr. Lee might have violated the Medical Law.”
Dr. Lee was offended by his offensive utterance and firmly advocated his medical belief.
He retorted, “The real human right for the patient is to save his life. I would not beat a retreat.”
Ha Tae-keung, another lawmaker, denounced Kim Jong Dae for being indifferent to the human rights situation in North Korea, saying, "Parasites are not just a personal matter, but a status quo that all North Korean citizens face."
While the defector’s operation issue was nearly on the threshold of political strife, Mr. Oh has reportedly regained his consciousness. Currently, Mr. Oh is walking, talking, and using the restroom on his own, although his condition remains very serious because of complications from tuberculosis and hepatitis B. Obviously, his physical youth, strong spirit to be saved, and Dr. Lee’s medical troop of more than 10 with outstanding skill are attributed to Mr. Oh’s miracle-like restoration.
Dr. Lee has a fondness for Mr. Oh, and he hung a South Korean national flag in his recovery room.
“He actually asked me, ‘Is it really South Korea? I said, ‘Have a look at that flag. Have you ever seen that flag in North Korea?' He felt assured,” said Dr. Lee, “I am proud of Mr. Oh. He fled to South Korea from the North to seek for liberty and much more freedom, laying it all on the line. It’s easy to say that it’s really difficult to make it happen, so I admire him.”
Dr. Lee is purportedly in debt of approximately $800,000, and all the debt accounts for his love about the patients who have suffered unpaid medical balance which overwhelms them. He paid the cost including prohibitively expensive medical helicopter rental for his patients.
Moreover, almost every single day he stays at the hospital to operate on trauma patients. The hospital is becoming another home away from home for him, like a rigorous boarding school. Two hundred times a year Dr. Lee is in the medical helicopter to save the patients in severe condition nationwide. He can’t take time for having meals, even after a time-consuming operation. He also works 36 hours consecutively and this robs him of minimum sleep hours. This heavy labor and lack of sleep led to poor health conditions, and now he has nearly lost all sight in his left eye.
South Koreans are pinning their hopes on Dr. Lee because they believe him to be McDreamy, who has it all: competence, personality, and mission as a doctor who practices the Hippocratic oath. Dr. Lee’s craze is leading South Korea to be the change.
In online forums, South Korean online users have been sending their best wishes to Dr. Lee and his patient, Mr. Oh.
They say, “Dr. Lee represents a real surgeon in our times to save many patients’ lives with authenticity. Mr. Oh! Please survive so you can live in South Korea, the land of liberty.”
Dr. Lee Cook Jong delivers a medical briefing about Mr. Oh’s operation.
Oh Chung Sung, a North Korean soldier, who made death-defying escape under a hail of bullets to seek for liberty, regains his consciousness. <Photo: YouTube capture>
Mr. Oh undergoes life-saving surgery. <Photo: YouTube capture>