Holes in Shin’s intestines from surgery, panel says

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Holes in Shin’s intestines from surgery, panel says

The Korean Medical Association announced Tuesday that late singer Shin Hae-chul did have a portion of his stomach removed during an operation on Oct. 17.

It also confirmed earlier assessments that holes found in his small intestines and the sac around his heart were the result of the same surgery.

The special nine-panel medical investigative team that looked into Shin’s case said during a press briefing on Tuesday that after assessing Shin’s medical records, it had concluded that the singer did undergo a stomach stapling operation, a revelation that runs counter to the claim by Sky Hospital, where the star was treated, that it did not perform the surgery.

The accused hospital claims that it only conducted a surgery to adhere Shin’s small and large intestines, while his relatives maintain that the hospital reduced the size of his stomach without his consent.

Dr. Kang Sin-mong, one of the panelists, said it was likely that the perforations found in Shin’s intestines and pericardium, the thin outer wall that covers the heart, were made during the operation, though it’s also possible that those holes developed after surgery.

“While it is hard to pinpoint a date for the formation of the perforations, they were formed prior to Oct. 20, which was three days after the surgery,” Kang said.

While the panel said internal holes were the direct result of the Oct. 17 operation, it said it would be too much to say it was tantamount to medical malpractice on the part of Sky Hospital.

Whether the hospital neglected its duty will be settled in court, though the panel did say that the post-surgery procedures the 46-year-old singer received fell short of the steps that should have been taken.

The panel continued that, in determining whether the hospital breached its professional duty, it also needs to look at whether Shin refused to follow the medical guidelines given by the medical center.

Five days after the abdominal surgery, Shin fell into a coma after suffering a heart attack, which was caused by a combination of peritonitis in his intestines and pericardium. Shin died on Oct. 27, 10 days after the surgery.

The briefing came after the medical association’s month-long assessment of what led to the singer’s death. The association sent its findings to Songpa Police Precinct, which is handling the case.

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




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