There is a man here. He was born with congenital heart disease. He received three heart surgeries during his school days. He was often breathless and frustrated. He wanted to survive. He put his hand on his left chest and confirmed that his heart was beating. His heart was still running. He was grateful for being alive. He was thankful to the doctors who saved him.
There is also a man here. He had a dream. He wanted to live a life that saved people. He believed it was necessary for the world. He went to medical school. He became a doctor. But he faced reality that he could not get out of the office. Eventually he decided to break through. He wanted to go beyond time and space. He set up a company. He connected his patients and physicians with IT technology.
A man who sick and a man who wants to save sick people. These two men live under the name of ‘Shin Seung Keon’. Yes. This is my story.
In 2006, I graduated from Korea University Medical College and became a doctor. But I did not go straight to clinical field. Clinical field refers to a physician meeting a patient at a hospital. In a nutshell, I did not go to the doctor to treat patients (starting with interns, residents). There was a reason for that.
I met many patients both inside and outside the hospital during my medical school days. But I have had more difficult days than myself. So I was afraid. I think the pain of other patients can be seen as ‘able to withstand’. Everyone who comes to the hospital is having the most difficult time of his life. I was worried that I would take their pain lightly. I thought I would not be a good doctor to the patients I see. I thought I should not be in the clinical field.
There were other problems besides the concern that the doctor would not sympathize with the patient. I myself did not reveal history around me. Illness is never a good thing from the point of view that it is the factor that determines the impression of one person. I have experienced a lot in my life as it promotes prejudice and discrimination.
I was worried that I would look at the patients and think, ‘I was sicker than them, and they too could endure that degree.’ On the other hand, I was afraid another person would look at me and worry that ‘I could trust him and work with him’. These two were the obstacles I had to overcome in order to live as an ordinary doctor.
At the time, I did not get over obstacles. I did not want to have prejudice against others, nor did I want to be discriminated against. I vowed not to treat others I do not want to receive. At the same time, I wanted to keep my self-esteem. So I gave up my practice in the clinical field and did not reveal the past I was sick.
After that, I chose a way not to see the patient. I entered a graduate school and after that I made an e-health company. I was quite satisfied for a while. It felt like doing an innovative and great job. It seemed that I could present a great solution to the world.
YTN (2010. 10. 4) Smartphone catch up ‘Medical consultation app’ http://goo.gl/q9Fxg
Asia Today (2010. 11. 1) “Medical consultation” app http://goo.gl/5wpCS
ZDNet Korea (2010. 12. 14) Commitment to the medical community to blossom as a free app http://goo.gl/tuJQb
Hankyoreh (2010. 12. 20) ‘Your doctor in your hand’ http://goo.gl/tDFZU
Dong-A Ilbo (2011. 5. 16) Medical consultation application in hand http://goo.gl/2uZnd
Dailymedi (2011. 11. 1) Will the Korean Medical Association president be elected by mobile? http://goo.gl/qk1AN
Medicaltimes (2011. 12. 13) Physicians to save patients with IT, not medicine http://goo.gl/zDu1l0
Medicaltimes (2012. 3. 5) “Medical, go to SNS!” http://goo.gl/LMhnWk
But it was an illusion. While my alumni were treating patients in the clinical field and giving them real help, I did not. I was just pretending to do it, and did not really contribute to saving someone. I was not a doctor, but a strange being.
So I decided to actually see the patient. I started hospital training late in the early 30s. I asked myself about the basics of doctor’s role when deciding on a hospital practice. The answer was clear. A doctor is a person who helps patients.
Every job is basically worthy of existence because it helps others. Among them, doctors, judges, and lawyers are considered to be representative experts. Because it helps those who are in a relatively weaker state.
Then I thought I should go to the place with the most needy people. I thought that I should go to the place where there is not the lot of money, but the alienated ones. So I entered the National Medical Center in Seoul, which is making public health their identity.
The National Medical Center is the representative place of public health in South Korea. In other words, it means that this hospital is the place to care for the sickest and the alienated people in our society. I sympathized with that. There was a way I had to go. So I chose the National Medical Center without worrying for a long time. I started my hospital life at the National Medical Center for one year internship, four years for surgical residents, and five years combined.
Medicaltimes (2013. 2. 12) The story of a doctor who worked as a CEO started training http://goo.gl/MFvZAU
I became a surgeon, and since then I have been working as an ordinary neighborhood doctor. I am such a doctor that anyone can go out on the road and meet with a light foot in ten minutes. I live in a doctor ‘s life without anything special.
Now that I live as a neighborhood doctor, I look back on my days as a patient and am new to my mind. I was a patient. I prayed that I wanted to live every night, and that prayer was done through the hands of doctors. And now I am walking along the path that the doctors walked. It seems that I have been on this road quite a while. I look back at the road I walked from time to time, and I remember where I started this road again.
There are various doctors in the world. The doctors are all different. Later, if someone asks me what I am good at, I would like to answer that I am the doctor who best understands the patient ‘s position. If it was my first challenge to be a doctor from the patient, my second challenge is to return to the patient’s eye level again.