Medical Care Provided at Army's 121st Evacuation Hospital in Seoul, Korea

HRD-78-18: Published: Nov 16, 1977. Publicly Released: Nov 17, 1982.

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Inquiries were made on behalf of Emma Jean Hedrick whose son died as a result of cardiac arrest and an upper gastrointestinal hemorrhage during surgery performed at the Army's 121st Evacuation Hospital, Seoul, Korea, to correct a service-related injury.

Several factors contributing to the patient's cardiac arrest were: less than thorough preoperative patient evaluation; delay in recognition of the magnitude of bleeding; and delay in administering resuscitation. The patient's past history of peptic ulcers was not known by the admitting physician although it should have been evident from medical records. In spite of recommendations made in an Army investigative report, as of May 25, 1977, no specific policy changes or controls were established. After this was brought to the attention of responsible officials, corrective action was initiated including procedures for more thorough evaluation of medical histories, better use of nursing and ancillary personnel, and better control of blood loss measurement and emergency conditions during surgery. Other actions have been taken or are being taken by the Commander, Medical Command, Korea, to insure high quality care through consultant support, professional communication, improved management, periodic conferences, and a program to upgrade operating rooms.

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