[IWAR] Patients in Hong Kong Dying Due to Shortage

From: Hiroshima (hiroat_private)
Date: Mon Dec 08 1997 - 10:07:12 PST

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    Patients are dying in North Korea from
    medical shortage 
    Copyright c 1997 Nando.net
    Copyright c 1997 The Associated Press 
    HONG KONG (December 7, 1997 2:29 p.m. EST http://www.nando.net) -- People
    are dying in North Korea because of a shortage of medical supplies, and
    doctors are forced to perform surgery without anesthesia, a relief agency
    said Sunday.
    Dr. Eric Goemaere, director general of Doctors Without Borders, said
    hospitals and clinics in North Korea have "nothing to offer to the patients"
    because of the collapse of the medical system.
    Goemaere, just back from a weeklong visit to North Hamgyong, a province of
    more than 3 million people bordering China, said many patients are dying at
    "Because there have been no supplies to the hospitals for the past three or
    four years, the doctors have not been able to help and patients have chosen
    to stay at home to die," the group said in a statement.
    At a news conference, Goemaere said there are "no antibiotics, no
    antiseptics, only traditional herbal drugs."
    He said many people in the province were suffering from pneumonia
    because of the cold, and that diarrhea and skin diseases were also common.
    He also released a videotape of appendix surgery being performed without
    anesthesia on a young woman in a hospital in the southern province of
    The patient was tied to the operating table and dirty scissors were used
    instead of scalpels. The woman, who suffered great pain, died two days later
    of infection, Goemaere said.
    He said there were no reliable statistics on the number of people who have
    died because of the collapse of the medical system.
    His delegation visited four cities in North Hamgyong, the northern-most
    province, which Goemaere said is isolated from the rest of country.
    Two years of flooding and a drought this summer compounded years of
    chronic mismanagement of North Korea's collectivized agriculture system.
    Relief groups estimate that 1 million to 2 million North Koreans may have
    died of starvation.
    While the situation in North Korea is not like famines in Africa, where people
    have died directly from lack of food, U.N. officials say North Koreans are
    dying from disease brought on by food shortages and the collapsing health
    care system.
    Reckoning the scale of North Korea's problems has been difficult because
    the isolated, secretive communist country has not given relief workers access
    to all parts of the country.
    The group said there was no visible sign of widespread famine, but there
    were signs of food shortage in the country.
    "People are scavenging for the last grains of rice after the harvest has been
    taken in," it said.
    By RAYMOND CHOW, Associated Press Writer

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