중앙데일리

Online medical group shut down

May 17,2017
A children’s rights civic group reported to police an online community that advised parents against taking their kids to the hospital when they fell ill and instead gave out “home care” remedies, many of them not physician-approved, such as rinsing a child’s nasal passages with soy sauce as one remedy for the common cold.

“The group has been offering so-called home care remedies at random and without medical expertise,” the Child Abuse Prevention Association said in its report to the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency on Tuesday. “Refusing to give proper medical care to children is a crime and calls for disciplinary action.”

The civic group said it has gathered over 100 cases of possible violations of the Medical Service Act and of child abuse on the postings on the online community, Raise Your Child without Meds.

The online community shut down its website earlier this month.

The civic group reported the director of the online community, an oriental medicine doctor Kim Hyo-jin, and a number of managers who are allegedly not certified physicians, for violating the Medical Service Act.

It also reported some members of the online community for violating the Child Welfare Act by withholding proper medical care from children.

“This is a clear case of child abuse,” said Gong Hye-jeong, director of the Child Abuse Prevention Association. “Kim created the online community to sell her homemade soaps and digestion aids, and the managers gave out directions on how to treat children with illnesses even though they are not certified physicians.”

The online community opened in 2013.

“Hospitals are duping you into thinking your child is ill, when he or she is very healthy, and forcing you to take prescriptions,” Kim is alleged to have written on the community when she opened the website. “You should be able to raise your child without relying on medicine.”

But many of the medical advice given by the online community allegedly involved strange practices, like treating a child suffering from a brain tumor with enema and sunlight or treating a stuffy nose by pouring soy sauce into his or her nasal passages, according to the cases reported by some community members to the Child Abuse Prevention Association.

Some parents even uploaded photos of their children suffering from eczema, complaining that their children’s skin condition worsened dramatically after applying such treatments given by the online community.

“The advice and remedies given by the online community have nothing to do with modern oriental medical practices,” said the Society of Korean Medicine.

The Association of Korean Medicine has also reported the online community to the Korea Communications Standards Commission.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare said it may also report the community if cases of violations of the law, like managers giving out medical advice without certified license as a physician, are confirmed.

BY KIM JUN-YOUNG [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]


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