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N Korean ‘Free Healthcare’ In Shambles

From a seemingly surprised Associated Press:

Report: Amputations without anesthesia in NKorea

By Hyung-jin Kim, Associated Press Writer

July 15, 2010

SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea’s health care system is in shambles with doctors sometimes performing amputations without anesthesia and working by candlelight in hospitals lacking essential medicine, heat and power, a human rights watchdog said Thursday.

North Korea’s state health care system has been deteriorating for years amid the country’s economic difficulties. Many of its 24 million people reportedly face health problems related to chronic malnutrition, such as tuberculosis and anemia, Amnesty International said in a report on the state of the health care system.

A 24-year-old defector from northeastern Hamkyong province told Amnesty that a doctor amputated his left leg from the calf down without anesthesia after his ankle was crushed by a moving train when he fell from one of the cars.

"Five medical assistants held my arms and legs down to keep me from moving. I was in so much pain that I screamed and eventually fainted from pain," said the man, identified only by his family name, Hwang. "I woke up one week later in a hospital bed."

The report was based on interviews with more than 40 North Koreans who have defected, mostly to South Korea, as well as organizations and health care professionals who work with North Koreans

North Korea says it provides free medical care to all its citizens. But Amnesty said most interviewees said they or a family member had given doctors cigarettes, alcohol or money to receive medical care.

Doctors often work without pay, have little or no medicine to dispense and reuse scant medical supplies, the report said.

"People in North Korea don’t bother going to the hospital if they don’t have money because everyone knows that you have to pay for service and treatment," a 20-year-old North Korean defector named Rhee was quoted as saying. "If you don’t have money, you die."

Many interviewees said they had to walk as long as two hours to get to a hospital for surgery, said Norma Kang Muico, an Amnesty researcher and author of the report… 

Amnesty blamed failed or counterproductive government policies and said North Korea should cooperate with aid donors to ensure transparency in the distribution of food assistance and guarantee that medical personnel are paid adequately.

The group also recommended that countries such as South Korea, the U.S., China, Japan and Russia ensure that humanitarian assistance in North Korea is based on need and is not subject to political conditions.

Oh, now we see why we are getting this report. Amnesty International wants the US to send North Korea more aid.

Still, according to the 2007 ‘North Korea country profile’ provided by the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress(a pdf file):

North Korea has a national medical service and health insurance system…. Medical treatment is free. In the past, there reportedly has been one doctor for every 700 inhabitants and one hospital bed for every 350 inhabitants. Health expenditures in 2001 were 2.5 percent of gross domestic product, and 73 percent of health expenditures were made in the public sector.

North Korea’s healthcare system sounds like a model for what Mr. Obama has in mind for us.

And we’ll probably get there soon enough.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, July 15th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

5 Responses to “N Korean ‘Free Healthcare’ In Shambles”

  1. proreason says:

    The system is fair though, isn’t it?

    That’s the most important thing.

  2. wardmama4 says:

    I read that in the former Soviet Union – the hospitals were the biggest cause of the spread of AIDS due to their lack of sanitary procedures, even in civilized countries like the UK, Canada and Germany – the wait for even routine surgery is quite lengthy and leads to further complications and death.

    And no it isn’t even fair – in all those ‘free universal healthcare’ countries – the elderly, the poor and the minorities (who are certainly more mistreated in other countries than here in the US) do not have the access nor the opportunity to get the best care or even the options that are available to the ruling and wealthy classes. Thus – as we the educated and those who deal in facts not emo & distortions know – the ‘free universal healthcare’ – is actually less fair, less just and more discriminatory than what America had prior to the Obamantioncare passage.

    Among the military/veterans it is known from coast to coast about outdated care (slow to adopt new techniques and procedures), long waits, and denial of care/claims – this is what all Americans – without the option for the middle class and poor to seek care elsewhere – are headed for.

    The sad thing is – I believe the majority of Americans did understand how wrong and bad this Obamanationcare bill was – but the Thug Administration lied, cheated and bribed our elected ‘representatives’ into passing it anyway – against the will of the majority of Americans. So the Thug Administration, the Congress and the Supreme Court for not issuing an immediate injunction against this un-Constitutional bill – are all in violation of their oaths of office (to uphold and defend the Constitution) – all for a ‘legacy’ for the ‘historical’ first half-rican President.

    The only legacy Barack Hussein Obama is going to have is setting race relations in America back 150 years and being the absolutely worse President for all of American history. Ever.

    • proreason says:

      Define “Ever”.

      You aren’t thinking about the future, are you? Didn’t think so. So it is possible that there could be a worse president at some time, if you properly include the future in “Ever”.

      Assuming, of course, that we continue to have presidents.

      Obamy could be our last one. From now on, I’m thinking we will have Supreme Rulers or Fuhrers. The title seems to be crimping the little boy king’s mojo.

  3. fallingpianos says:

    Define “American history”.

    If Obamalamadingdong is indeed our last president and he succeeds in completely changing the fundamental nature of this country, then America as we know it will have ceased to exist, thus bringing to an end to the history of the United States of America.

    In that context, Obama could very well be considered the worst president in American history. Ever.

    However, America isn’t finished yet. As Rush likes to say: “When things are bad enough, I’ll tell you when to move.” (or something like that)

  4. NoNeoCommies says:

    I am not the least bit surprised at the state of the NoKo’s medical establishment.
    Any government that treats it’s own citizens so harshly that even the military doesn’t get enough food, can hardly be expected to provide decent health care.
    It’s the European and Canadian healthcare systems that are more important indicators of our near future.

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