As senior medical students increasingly avoid pediatrics when choosing a specialty, the medical community voiced concern that physicians treating critically ill pediatric patients were in danger of extinction.
An online petition about Cheong Wa Dae, who represented the voice of pediatricians, recently called for public attention to save pediatric practices.
The pediatrics crisis was evident in the pediatric resident recruitment in 2021.
Korea Biomedical Review analyzed the recruitment of residents of 55 teaching hospitals on Dec. 2 and found that only 58 students applied for pediatrics residency out of 181 open positions at 49 teaching hospitals.
Twenty-six (53.1 percent) of the 49 teaching hospitals had no registrations for pediatrics at all. Some teaching hospitals could fulfill the pediatric functions through a second recruitment.
The percentage of applicants for pediatrics residency has dropped from 89.8 percent in 2019 to 71.2 percent in 2020 and plummeted to 38.2 percent in 2021.
A doctor concerned about this trend, filed a petition on the presidential office website on Tuesday demanding government support for pediatrics and Korean children’s health.
The petitioner introduced himself as a healthcare professional who worked in a university hospital in Seoul. “Pediatrics is dying. Please keep it. Once pediatrics are gone, we will no longer be able to preserve the health and safety of children and adolescents, ”said the petitioner.
The doctor went on to say that doctors who can treat sick children are disappearing. “What’s worse is that no one wants to address this issue and everyone is sitting still,” said the petitioner.
The writer warned that fewer child practices could deprive children of the opportunity to receive timely treatment.
Without pediatricians, deaths from late surgery after a car accident or not being admitted to the emergency room are likely to increase, the petitioner said.
“The bigger problem will show up in the hospital wards. The overall quality of life of pediatric patients will deteriorate due to delayed treatment, poor quality of care, increased complications and longer hospital stays, ”added the petitioner.
The petitioner called the declining number of pediatricians “a medical disaster that had already been predicted”.
In a number of years, poor children will suffer from illness and parents will be devastated by feelings of guilt, the petitioner said. “Doctors will become helpless. There will be more university hospitals without the pediatrics department, and this will reinforce the perception of pediatrics ”, added the petitioner.
The doctor stressed that the government must establish a short-term and a long-term plan to “resuscitate” pediatrics.
According to the petitioner, many older medical students were unaware that hospitals were still offering pediatrics vacancies for the second hiring in 2021. The government should make a large-scale promotion of pediatrics vacancies in the near future. petitioner said.
The government should also remove the rule forcing a resident who quits mid-training to wait until the following year to apply for a new residence permit, the petitioner added.
In the long run, the government should review the pros and cons of various measures, such as financially supporting surgery and emergency medicine, promoting pediatrics through the media, adjusting reimbursements, improving the medical delivery system to improve the control the distribution of patients and have specialized pediatrics hospitals. , said the petitioner.