[Ferry Disaster] Patients need time to forget, hospital chief says
Published : Apr 19, 2014 - 15:22
Updated : Apr 19, 2014 - 18:20
Dr. Ryu Jae-kwang (center), Mokpo Hankook Hospital director, informs the public regarding the conditions of its patients survived from the sunken Sewol at a press briefing in Mokpo, Saturday.  (Jeong Hunny/The Korea Herald)

MOKPO, South Jeolla Province – The head of Mokpo Hankook Hospital on Saturday called for the survivors of the Sewol ferry disaster to be given time and space to recover from their ordeal. 

Eleven survivors are being treated at the hospital, and eight more have been discharged after treatment.

“Please do not ask more than what is absolutely necessary,” Dr. Ryu Jae-kwang, Mokpo Hankook Hospital director, told the press.

“The chief of the neuropsychiatry department, Dr. Jung Jae-jin, has told me three to four patients here show signs of depression, anxiety, and are having sleeping problems.” 

“So far, the treatment is going smoothly. But some patients have loved ones still missing from the accident.” 

The best treatment for these patients was letting them forget about the accident, according to Ryu. 

After being flooded with hundreds of reporters covering the Sewol accident, the Mokpo Hankook Hospital had returned to relative calm. Other than the makeshift press room created in the hospital lobby, the hospital atmosphere was “back to normal,” according to a hospital employee.

The hospital, however, was prepared to treat more survivors and has prepared an air ambulance helicopter to transport patients under the care of an emergency medicine specialist and a paramedic.

Current regulations forbid air ambulances from taking off after 6 p.m., but Ryu said he was negotiating with government officials to have the rules lifted in consideration of the special situation in Jindo.

More than 270 passengers who were on the sunken Sewol ferry remain missing. The government announced that more than 600 rescue workers -- both civilian and military – had launched an operation to enter the sunken ship on Saturday in search of survivors.

By Jeong Hunny (