Doctor offers services free of charge for those in need

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Doctor offers services free of charge for those in need

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Kim Young-hoon

Dr. Kim Young-hoon has been a saving grace for the residents of Danyang County, North Chungcheong, where the 51-year-old ophthalmologist has offered his services for free since April.

Kim, a medical professor at the Catholic University of Korea based in Seoul, has treated around 1,800 patients there over the past 10 months. Most of the beneficiaries are elderly and have lived in the area for most of their lives.

The county has no eye care center.

Before, most residents had to travel an hour by bus to seek treatment for cataracts, glaucoma and other common eye problems that often affect seniors.

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Kim Yong-hoon, a medical professor at the Catholic University of Korea who specializes in ophthalmology, examines a patient at a public health center in Danyang County, North Chungcheong. [DANYANG PUBLIC HEALTH CENTER]

“I heard there was no eye care center in Danyang and started volunteering my eye medical services,” he said.

Over the past six years, Kim has also participated in eyesight recovery missions organized by the Korea Foundation for the Prevention of Blindness. He first heard about the situation in Danyang from the foundation.

Kim usually visits the county two times a month, on the second and fourth Thursday, during which he sees about 100 patients a day at a public health center.

Since offering his services, the health center has acquired a slit lamp microscope and other necessary ophthalmic instruments.

And thanks to his efforts, many county residents have been able to receive appropriate treatment for diagnoses ranging from cataracts to chronic dry eyes. Patients who need more specialized medical examinations are referred to larger hospitals.

“It was heartbreaking to see so many seniors suffering from diseases that can be completely corrected with early treatment,” Kim said.

Many of his patients have shown him their gratitude in the form of gifts, including candy and even homemade alcoholic beverages.

Kim also offers free medical treatment at a health center for foreign workers in Ansan, Gyeonggi, and has participated in medical missions to Mongolia and the Philippines.

BY CHOI JONG-KWON [kim.sohee0905@joongang.co.kr]

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