Many medical workers in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea dedicate their blood and flesh unhesitatingly to save the lives of people. Among them are those at the general plastic surgery department of the Pyongyang University of Medical Sciences Hospital.
The happiest day
The burn intensive-care unit was so quiet strangely in the run-up to the New Year’s Day in Juche 107 (2018).
Doctors and nurses at the general plastic surgery department of the hospital, who had forgotten the festive atmosphere of the New Year for two consecutive years, believed that they would celebrate New Year’s Day together with their family members.
However, an emergency call rang in the department. Around 11pm on December 28, several unconscious burnt cases were admitted to the department. Their vital signs were almost zero. An emergency consultation was held immediately and necessary measures were taken to save them. Ri Kyong Ae, head of the department, and other doctors and nurses had repeated discussions to solve knotty problems which would be impossible to solve with established concepts and experiences. They conducted skin grafting nine times. In general, three times were enough to others. Besides, they devoted sincerity to the patients for over 120 days, paying close attention to their nutrition management and convenience in life while giving medical assistance along with treatment to prevent multi-functional disturbance from shock.
When the patients recovered their health and left the hospital, the department was full of holiday atmosphere.
A place unaffected by seasons
The general plastic surgery department has only one season of “summer” all the year round, as a thermostat is operated even in midsummer for burnt cases who feel a chill.
Although it is sweaty due to the sultry weather in midsummer that everyone hates, the members of the department are now allowed to use electric fans. So, some heads of other departments say to their members, who express their fatigue, to go to work at the general plastic surgery department.
In early spring last year, a patient with a third-degree burn was admitted to the hospital. However, Ri So Hyok, doctor in charge of the patient, bathed with cool water several times a day, and then went to the intensive-care unit. Girl nurses cared for the patient at his bedside in an isolated room all day, but no one showed any sign of fatigue.
All doctors and nurses devoted their selfless love and sincerity to patients, sending them back to their workplaces one after another.
Still today, intensive treatment goes on in the ICU day and night.
Our department head
Doctors and nurses of the department admire and follow Ri Kyong Ae, calling her “our department head.”
In her maidenhood of twenties, she was appointed to the hospital after graduating from Pyongyang University of Medical Sciences. Although 40-odd years have passed since she had conducted her first operation with her heart beating, she keeps holding the scalpel.
She has become one of leading authorities in the sector of treating burnt cases as she has cured those with a three-degree burn by combining various skin grafting techniques of high grade according to their indications.
She has been awarded high state commendations and attended the national meetings several times as she has rendered great services to training reserve medical workers in her sector and developing surgery with her warm-heartedness and technical abilities for tens of years.
Once, a girl nurse at the department asked her if she felt exhausted as she was quite old now. She replied as follows:
“I often feel exhausted. However, I feel happy whenever I see the smiling patients who recovered their health.”
Originally published on Naenara – naenara.com.kp