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2017-12-03 16:07
Mixed-up medical samples land healthy persons on the operating table, depriving them of an organ or two. Something that could happen only in a movie? No, it took place in a supposedly reputable hospital. So here is advice for anybody who gets bad news from your doctors or hospitals: Stop despairing and get a second opinion.

Here is a case in point. At Ajou University Hospital located in Suwon, a man, 68, had reportedly checked in for a test in August after his urine was lined with blood.

He got a test that came back with a devastating diagnosis ― third-stage prostate cancer. Last month, he had an operation. The hospital found something amiss while the “patient” was recovering and discovered a sample mix-up: he had a healthy prostate removed because somebody else’s sample was mistaken for his.

A side-effect of the removal has given him a severe case of incontinence, forcing him to wear diapers. The hospital offered to return 10 million won ($9,000) in the medical expenses he paid plus 20 million won in compensation.

The hospital said the amount was decided through consultation with lawyers, claiming it was the patient who had leaked this information to the press and refused to negotiate.

The patient may resort to an arbitration committee for a settlement but if either he or the hospital is dissatisfied with the decision, the court can be the venue of last resort, most likely presaging a dragged-out lawsuit. The hospital said the staffer who was responsible faced a disciplinary committee. Ajou is the hospital that became famous for trauma surgeon Lee Cook-jong who recently saved a North Korean defector who suffered multiple gunshot wounds while escaping from the Joint Security Area in the truce village of Panmunjeom.


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