Foreigner’s death linked to late singer’s surgeon

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Foreigner’s death linked to late singer’s surgeon

Police announced Friday that they are looking into the death of an Australian man who underwent a stomach stapling operation in November by the same surgeon currently involved in a malpractice suit over the death of one of Korea’s biggest rock stars.

The patient’s death came a little more than a month after part of his stomach was removed by Dr. Kang Se-hoon, 45, who formerly headed Seoul Sky Hospital in southern Seoul’s affluent Songpa District.

The Australian had reportedly visited a new hospital that Kang had opened there under a new name to undergo the operation as a treatment for obesity.

According to police officers in Cheonan, South Chungcheong, the patient was diagnosed as extremely obese, and the procedure was hoped to help with that. The Australian man, they added, planned to leave Korea two days after the initial surgery but was forced to receive three additional surgeries due to complications.

He was subsequently treated at a hospital in Cheonan and eventually died of blood poisoning, 40 days after the initial surgery on Nov. 18.

The man’s death means Kang could face an additional medical malpractice suit; the Seoul surgeon is currently embroiled in a suit over the death in 2014 of famed singer Shin Hae-chul, a Korean rock icon who rose to mega-stardom in the 1990s.

On Oct. 17, 2014, Shin underwent abdominal surgery for adhesions at Seoul Sky Hospital.

Five years earlier, he had undergone gastric bypass surgery at that clinic, after which his large and small intestines had fused together. Surgery was required to reverse the condition, an operation that was performed by Dr. Kang. Five days later, he had a heart attack and fell into a coma, eventually passing away on Oct. 27, 2014.

Police held Kang responsible for the death, citing results from the National Forensic Service, and prosecutors later indicted him on medical malpractice charges.

Police said they are currently awaiting the forensic results to determine whether Kang will face another medical malpractice charge over the Australian man’s death.

By law, a licensed doctor is allowed to continue practicing medicine if he or she has not been convicted on a malpractice charge.

BY LEE SUNG-EUN [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]

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