Updated: Jun 28, 2020
By Ann Kim, Communications Editor
As many volunteers have pointed out, there are many dilemmas that seem to occur within the secretive systems of nursing hospitals. The quality of care given to patients in the hospital, mostly to the elderly, is often determined by how much they pay to the hospital. The biggest problem that arises from these nursing homes is that patients are being cared for by employees that are not actually certified nursing hospital doctors. Instead, these “doctors” are people with doctorates that use the hospital as a means for gaining fiscal profit; the role is open to anyone who has a doctorate — no matter which type of doctor they are.
The dilemma of these illegal proceedings inside nursing hospitals was reflected during the massive fire in a nursing hospital in the Milyang-Sejong Hospital in South Korea. The tragedy killed 41 people and injured another 153. The problems that caused this terrible accident include the building of illegal infrastructure, opening of fire doors, and the unnecessary usage of “body protectors” in the hospital. The Sejong Hospital reportedly used taekwondo belts to bind the bodies of 10 patients to their beds. The idea was to prevent against falls and injuries to the elderly, but the body protectors cost many lives — they required 30 to 60 seconds to remove, precious time that could have been used to evacuate patients.
It has also been pointed out that the number of casualties was so high because of the open fire doors on the second, third and fifth floors at the time of the fire. In the case of a fire, the evacuation routes should block off the fire’s route; in more modern buildings, fire doors are designed to close automatically when the fire alarm is activated. In addition, previously installed fire doors should be kept closed under normal circumstances.
In the Sejong Hospital, there were no fire doors on the first floor. Fire doors were installed on each of the emergency exits on the second, third and fourth floors. The fire doors being open at the time of the fire could have been the cause of the smoke spreading rapidly upstairs.
These problems that happened due to the illegal actions of nursing hospitals should be reconsidered and examined closely to avoid any more tragedies like the one in Sejong Hospital.