Malpractice resulted in singer’s death, police say

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Malpractice resulted in singer’s death, police say

Police have requested that the prosecution file medical malpractice charges against the doctor who treated singer Shin Hae-chul, whose negligence they claim led to the entertainer’s untimely death last October.

The Songpa District Police Precinct ruled in its investigation on Tuesday that two perforations on Shin’s small intestine and pericardium, the thin outer wall that covers the heart, made during an abdominal adhesion surgery on Oct. 17, led to peritonitis and blood poisoning, which resulted in the singer’s death 10 days later.

Dr. Kang Se-hoon, 44, the head of Seoul Sky Hospital in Songpa District, southern Seoul, performed the operation. According to police, he also conducted an additional procedure to reduce the size of Shin’s stomach without the singer’s consent - a charge he has so far denied.

Police added that Kang also failed to provide proper medical advice to Shin following the surgery despite obvious signs of serious side effects, including acute pain, the police said.

“If the doctor had administered proper post-surgery treatment for unexpected side effects, Shin’s death could have been avoided,” said a police officer involved in the investigation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The official added that Kang had two chances to save Shin, on Oct. 19 and 20, as the singer’s condition was deteriorating.

The doctor’s lax treatment after the surgery caused Shin’s condition to worsen, police said. Shin had allegedly informed Kang that he had been experiencing constant pain, though the surgeon said it was temporary and expected during an “ordinary recovery process.”

When Shin returned to the hospital with a high fever and pain, police said, Kang prescribed him morphine and oxygen and made no effort to determine an exact cause for his symptoms, which included checking for peritonitis.

On Oct. 22, Shin went into cardiac arrest and subsequently fell into a coma. He died five days later from complications from peritonitis, pericarditis and brain damage, the authorities reported.

During the police investigation, Kang insisted that Shin had also been at fault and claimed that he tried to prevent the singer from leaving the hospital. The police did not accept his claim.

Shin’s sudden death shocked his family and the public.

The singer’s family requested an autopsy on his body and filed a lawsuit against the hospital for negligence that resulted in death.

The perforations were discovered in the autopsy in November.

After the report, Shin’s family and friends released a statement saying that they would accept the results of the police investigation.

BY NOH JIN-HO [nam.yoonseo@joongang.co.kr]

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