The Fifth Surgical Department Of Pyongyang Medical College of Kim Il Sung University is recognized as the most competent group in Korea in the field of anal and rectal surgery. They have successfully cured a lot of people, bringing the pleasure of life back to them. Their reputation draws many of such cases in the country.
With Mind’s Eye
One day a 26-year-old girl was admitted into the department for her rectal cancer. Having learned at college, she was recognized as a promising researcher in her own field. Moreover, she was engaged.
The existing method of operation was to cut off the rectum and make an artificial anus in the side. Choe Song Guk, head of the department, fell into deep thought over the case. He was in distress over the idea that he had to make the girl with a bright future disabled. The hopeless situation of the girl would not recede from his mind. His conscience that argued for his responsibility for her future kept him from taking the scalpel. He decided that he had to develop a new surgical method to bring a normal life back to the cases of rectal cancer. Through persistent studies he finally found out a method and carried out the operation on the girl. Remembering the story, he says, “Entering the theatre I felt rather nervous, because it was an operation nobody had ever done. If I would end up in failure, the patient could not escape from death. I approached the case in the capacity of her father instead of a surgeon, and saw her not with my physical eyes but with my mind’s eye. And that manner was the source of my courage.” Finally the girl could resume her cheerful and optimistic life without any handicap, and got married to be a good wife.
With the establishment of a new surgical method of cutting off the cancer in the lower rectum by the combination of resection and formation, the rate of making an artificial anus fell over 80 percent compared to the past, and the cases became able to live almost the same life as the normal one.
Well Done Is Half Done
When he was assigned as the head, Choe Song Guk found there is big difference between the duty of the department head and that of an ordinary member, despite his 20 odd-year career with a rich stock of experience. Whether the entire department staff became able or not depended on how the head played his role. Building on the success in the surgical operations of the cancer in the lower rectum, Choe made an innovation in the operation of the rectal prolapse as well. Earlier the rectal prolapse recurred even after operations. Renouncing the old method of operation, Choe applied the method of fixing the prolapsed rectum to the back wall of the pelvis, which turned out successful, bringing no more recurrence of the operation. What’s more important is that he ensured a complete success without using any mesh in the operation, the expensive thing that had been regarded as essential for the operation around the world.
Emulating the department head, all staff members vied to introduce novel methods in treatment of critical cases and cut the time of treatment.
Kang Myong Ho from Hongwon County, South Hamgyong Province, had a complication of diabetes; after operation he caught blood poisoning, and even bedsore. Nobody thought he would survive.
But Choe and his staff members tried whatever they could; they held hundreds of consultations, and applied new curative methods while combining traditional Korean remedies. Their sincere effort covering more than 200 days brought the patient back to health, who left the hospital in a good condition.
The department developed different medical appliances themselves and introduced them into treatment. There have been many other achievements.
There are a lot of letters of thanks from people all across the country who owe their life to the surgeons of Choe’s department.
Not content with their success, the medical staff are making constant progress in an innovative and enthusiastic manner.
Article: Kim Chol Hyon