News & Events

  • Title : Dongtan’s ‘Dr. Romance’ travels 200km every week for rural patients
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  • There are dedicated doctors who travel 200 kilometers every week for patients in rural areas. We call them the real ‘Dr. Romance.’ They are Professor Kyu Hyung Ryu, the former hospital director, and Professor Seong Woo Han of Cardiology, the current Chief Medical Officer at Hallym University Dongtan Sacred Heart Hospital. They are widely known as specialists in heart failure in Korea.

    There are 1.48 million local residents living in Seosan and Taean, Chungcheongnam-do. Due to the large portion of elderly population, the number of patients with cardiovascular diseases such as coronary artery disease, heart failure, and heart valve disease is high. However, patients with cardiovascular diseases had to go to hospitals in Seoul or other larger cities, because there was no cardiologist at Seosan Medical Center, the only public hospital in the region.

    Upon hearing this news, Hallym University Dongtan Sacred Heart Hospital signed an agreement with Seosan Medical Center and started dispatching two cardiologists twice a week to treat patients since October last year.

    The two cardiologists, Professors Ryu and Han, travel 200 kilometers to Seosan Medical Center to see patients on Monday and Thursday, respectively. On the day to visit Seosan, they come to Dongtan hospital at 6 AM to check the condition of their own patients, and move to Seosan Medical Center at 7 AM to see patients from 8:30 AM.

    Since the clinic is crowded by the local patients from the morning every time, it often ends late after the clinic hours. The two doctors see more than 40 patients a day usually, and most of them are first-visit patients, so it takes more time to check their condition.

    “Because we have to do various cardiovascular tests, it takes triple or quadruple the time to see new patients. It is almost the same time as seeing about 100 patients,” said Professor Ryu.

    Despite this circumstance, this dispatched medical service has been making good progress. Recently, a patient in his 50s who visited Seosan Medical Center for chest pain was diagnosed with acute myocardial infarction. Professor Han took the ambulance with the patient to the Dongtan hospital right away and performed an emergency stent insertion to save his live.

    A 61-year-old male patient of this area, who was hospitalized for an atrial fibrillation a month ago at the Dongtan hospital, is now being treated at Seosan Medical Center. He said, “In the past, I had to go to another region to get medicine, but now I am thankful and feel relieved that I can see doctors here in Seosan.”

    “It is very hard to travel for more than three hours a day to see many patients, so I feel exhausted every time. However, I will continue to see patients at Seosan Medical Center as there are many patients who desperately need a doctor,” said Professor Han.

    “Hallym University Dongtan Sacred Heart Hospital will fulfill our social responsibility as one of the main university hospitals in the region. We will do our best to allow more people to use better medical service by sharing our high-quality medical service and rapid transferring system with underprivileged areas,” said Director Seong-Ho Lee.

    By Jonghun Im, Int’l Cooperation Team, HUMC (