Eye doctor giving free treatment
“I had free cataract surgery in a hospital in southern Seoul. Now I am able to read. There is a doctor there who has helped migrant workers for a long time by performing free surgery. I was grateful and wanted to inform you,” she said.
After an introduction by Ms. Choi, the JoongAng Ilbo met Yu Yong-seong, 40, an ophthalmologist at ALC Hospital in Seocho-dong, Seocho district. “After the surgery, she left without a ‘thank you.’ It is surprising that she called the newspaper company,” Mr. Yu said. “I am glad the surgery was successful.”
“Many migrant workers are illegally staying in Korea, and are not good at expressing their emotions in Korean. Often, they can’t even express their gratitude. It feels rewarding when they bring their sick friends over and ask for surgery,” he added.
Mr. Yu began treating migrant workers in 2001. When he was attending the Yonsei University medical school, his mother often said, “If you have spare time, it would be nice to perform surgery for at least one person, for free.”
As soon as he began practicing, he began offering ophthalmology services in the 1004 Hospital run by Reverend Choi Il-do, along with six other colleagues. Mr. Yu started providing free cataract surgery, which is relatively expensive, in 2003.
“An ethnic Korean-Chinese came to our hospital with a cataract. When I spoke of the expense, he said, ‘I will come back,’ and left. I felt sorry to see him saddened. The next day I asked a medical center for migrant workers in Seongnam to send all eye patients to us,” Mr. Yu said.
More than 100 migrant workers received free treatment, including 30 cataract patients.
“As soon as I learned the happiness of sharing joy with other people, I couldn’t stop it. I would like to help as many people as I can,” Mr. Yu said.
by Park Hye-min