Rock singer Shin Hae-chul died from medical malpractice: police

March 3, 2015
Shin Hae-chul  (Yonhap)

Shin Hae-chul (Yonhap)

SEOUL (Yonhap) — Popular rock singer Shin Hae-chul died as a result of medical malpractice since his doctor did not provide proper care after abdominal surgery, police said Tuesday.

Last October, Shin, one of South Korea’s top rock icons, died 10 days after undergoing surgery for abdominal adhesions at a hospital in southern Seoul, shocking the nation.

Wrapping up its months-long investigation into the case, the Songpa Police Station in Seoul said the doctor, surnamed Kang, unilaterally decided to perform an additional procedure on Shin when the singer visited the hospital to be treated for abdominal adhesions on Oct. 17.

Kang hadn’t asked for Shin’s approval when he surgically shrank the singer’s stomach and accidentally punctured the small intestine and pericardium – the sac that surrounds the heart and roots of great blood vessels – in the process, police said.

An infection caught on quickly, but Kang failed to take necessary measures to treat the inflammation in the lining of Shin’s stomach, according to police. Shin died on Oct. 27 of complications.

Police said Kang had downplayed Shin’s symptoms despite their potentially fatal nature. Kang had allegedly told Shin that the high fever, abnormal surge in white blood cell count and extreme pain were “part of the normal recovery process.”

In a statement released later in the day, Kang denied any wrongdoing.

“Shrinking a stomach means 70-80% of the stomach tissue has been removed. That was not the case for Shin,” the doctor said, adding the singer had not heeded his advice to stay hospitalized.

The police said they will formally ask the prosecution to file a medical malpractice charge against Kang later this week.


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