UPDATE : Tuesday, August 4, 2020
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1st COVID-19 death of doctor reported in Korea
  • By Kim Yoon-mi
  • Published 2020.04.03 11:42
  • Updated 2020.04.03 12:00
  • comments 0

Korea reported the first death of a male physician among patients infected with the new coronavirus (COVID-19).

Kyungpook National University Hospital in Daegu said a 60-year-old internal medicine clinician, who was admitted to the hospital for COVID-19 treatment, died at 9:52 a.m. Friday.

The doctor, who had been providing outpatient care at a private clinic in Gyeongsan, North Gyeongsang Province, contacted a confirmed patient on Feb. 25, and tested positive for COVID-19 on March 19, reports said. During the treatment at Kyungpook National University Hospital, he was considered as a seriously ill COVID-19 patient.

A physician died of COVID-19 at Kyungpook National University Hospital in Daegu on Friday. (Credit: Kyungpook National University Hospital)

The hospital said the patient also received a heart stent due to myocardial infarction a day before the death. He had underlying diseases, including diabetes and hypertension, news reports said.

According to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), 121 healthcare professionals in Daegu have contracted the new coronavirus as of March 24. Fourteen of them are physicians, 56 are nurses, and the other 51 are nursing assistants.

Among healthcare workers infected with COVID-19, one was critically ill, and another showed severe symptoms, KCDC said on March 28.

A physician member of the North Gyeongsang Province Medical Association told Korea Biomedical Review, “It is so unfortunate that this has happened.”

Doctors are exposed to high risk of COVID-19 not only in intensive care units and testing facilities but patient care rooms within medical institutions, he added.

The physician went on to say that he felt sorry the government did not restrict people from entering Korea from China at the initial stage of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“If the government had banned entries from China from the start (of the virus spread), the public might not have suffered financially this much, and we could have reduced the incidence of COVID-19 patients,” he said. “I hope that the government and the medical community will communicate better and make joint efforts to move forward.”


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