Singer’s autopsy points to surgery

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Singer’s autopsy points to surgery

The police investigating the death of musician Shin Hae-chul released an autopsy report by the National Forensic Service (NFS) that concluded that a hole found in his small intestine and another in the sac surrounding the heart were probably caused by abdominal surgery he received 10 days before he died.

Seoul’s Songpa District Police Precinct quoted the NFS as saying that the two holes could have been created during or after the surgery to treat adhesion of Shin’s small and large intestines on Oct. 17, which led to internal infection.

The announcement by the police Sunday added to speculation that Shin died of complications from the surgery he underwent. Shin’s sudden death raised questions of medical malpractice or negligence of duty during or after the surgery at Seoul Sky Hospital in Songpa District, southern Seoul - the same place he had gastric bypass surgery five years earlier. Five days after the surgery, Shin had a heart attack, fell into a coma and died on Oct. 27.

The police also said the NFS commented on a CT scan of Shin’s chest. It said the singer might not have received proper medical treatment despite signs of pneumopericardium, a medical term referring to the formation of gas or oxygen in the sac surrounding the heart.

In its earlier announcement of an autopsy last month, the NFS said the cause of Shin’s death was a combination of peritonitis, an infection of the tissue inside the abdomen; pericarditis, an inflammation of the sac that covers the heart; and blood poisoning.

Despite a series of announcements that raised questions about medical procedures performed on the late singer, Dr. Kang Se-hoon, who performed the surgery and is the head of Sky Hospital, continued to deny any medical malpractice or negligence of duty during nine hours of questioning by the police on Saturday.

The surgeon told the police that no damage was done to Shin’s intestines during the Oct. 17 operation. He claimed the intestinal perforation could have been created by an infection resulting from the adhesion surgery, which he claimed did not amount to medical fault.

The investigators will request the Korean Medical Association to assess Shin’s case.

BY KANG JIN-KYU [jkkang2@joongang.co.kr]

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