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Thai woman on trip to Korea saves 5 lives through organ donation

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Purima Rungthongkumkul, a Thai national who donated her organs after being declared brain-dead, Friday, at Inje University Haeundae Paik Hospital / Courtesy of the Korea Organ Donation Agency

Purima Rungthongkumkul, a Thai national who donated her organs after being declared brain-dead, Friday, at Inje University Haeundae Paik Hospital / Courtesy of the Korea Organ Donation Agency

By KTimes

A 35-year-old Thai beautician who traveled to Korea fell into a coma and suffered brain death. The Thai national saved five lives after her family gave consent for her organs to be donated.

The Korea Organ Donation Agency said that Purima Rungthongkumkul, 35, died on July 5 at Inje University Haeundae Paik Hospital after donating her organs to five people.

Rungthongkumkul, who lived in Bangkok, was traveling in Korea with a friend when she lost consciousness on June 27 and was rushed to hospital.

Despite receiving treatment, she never regained consciousness and was declared brain-dead. Her family hurried to Korea upon hearing the news.

Purima Rungthongkumkul, who worked at a beauty salon in Bangkok, Thailand / Courtesy of the Korea Organ Donation Agency

Purima Rungthongkumkul, who worked at a beauty salon in Bangkok, Thailand / Courtesy of the Korea Organ Donation Agency

The family agreed to donate her organs, hoping that a part of Rungthongkumkul could continue to live on through others.

The family said, "This would have been her final wish for us," sharing, "In Thai culture, it is believed that when a person dies, they are reincarnated into a new life. We think that saving another life at the moment of departure is the greatest act of kindness."

Rungthongkumkul donated her heart, lungs, liver and both kidneys. Born in Bangkok, Rungthongkumkul was known for her cheerful personality and her ability to uplift those around her.

She worked at a beauty salon in Bangkok, striving to become a world-renowned hairstylist. She enjoyed motorcycle trips and spending time with her cat and family, according to the donation agency.

Her mother said, "Purima, you were always the best in our lives. Now it's time for you to rest, so don't worry about anything else and rest peacefully in heaven. We will always think of you and love you deeply."

The number of foreign nationals who have donated organs after brain death in Korea includes seven in 2019, eight in 2020, seven in 2021, seven in 2022, and seven last year.

This year, there have been four such donations, accounting for about 1.8 percent of all domestic brain-death organ donations.

The late Purima Rungthongkumkul / Courtesy of the Korea Organ Donation Agency

The late Purima Rungthongkumkul / Courtesy of the Korea Organ Donation Agency

This article from the Hankook Ilbo, sister publication of The Korea Times, is translated by generative AI and edited by staff of The Korea Times.



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