SEOUL, KOREA — Ministry of Health and Welfare informed that Abu Dhabi Health Authority sent the second patient that needs kidney transplant to Seoul Asan Hospital. The first patient that had vocal cord disorder was transferred to Seoul National University Hospital by Abu Dhabi Health Authority on 20 Dec. last year after the agreement with four Korean medical institutions was made on 25 Nov.
The patient who is visiting for kidney transplant this time is a 32-year-old woman who suffered diabetes for a long time and received frequent hemodialysis and therefore, was categorized as High HLA sensitization due to high possibility of side-effects after transplant. She was told by a US hospital that she would be unable to receive surgery.
Abu Dhabi Health Authority says that it transferred the patient to Seoul Asan Hospital because Seoul Asan Hospital has ample experience in treatment of desentization prior to the surgery that can reduce risk of transplantation rejection. It also visited Seoul Asan Hospital accompanied by a kidney donor for transplantation and approved of 150 thousand dollars as expenses for treatment of the patient.
Regarding the transfer of patients to Korea, a local Abu Dhabi media (“The National *”) reported that the first patient* that received treatment from Korea’s Seoul National Hospital successfully completed the first round of the treatment.
It spoke highly of Korea’s excellent medical facilities and human resources and mentioned that Korea is expressing its intention of providing the impeccable service that addresses cultural conflicts, food problems, etc that patients from Abu Dhabi could experience.
It also quoted saying from an official of Abu Dhabi Health Authority that Abu Dhabi Health Authority will send more patients to Korea after two or three patients are sent as trial first including the one that needs kidney transplant this time. Abu Dhabi Health Authority is sending around 3 thousand patients a year to foreign countries such as Germany (33%), England (22%) and US (16%), etc.
Those who are transferred to foreign hospitals mostly have needs or diseases that cannot be easily met or treated within Abu Dhabi such as malignant tumor, pediatric surgery, organ transplant, cardiovascular diseases, spinal disorder, etc.
UAE including Abu Dhabi region is sending its patients to other countries due to a lack of medical staff, high cost for treatment and surgery, lack of trust in its medical staff and equipment, etc. Currently, 80% of doctors and 90% of nurses in UAE are foreigners.
According to the 2011 EIU (Economic Intelligence Unit) report, UAE is spending USD 2 billion per year in sending out patients to foreign countries. 130 thousand people are visiting foreign countries for the purpose of medical treatment including 4,500 persons for whom the expenses are covered by the government.
An official from Ministry of Health and Welfare said that active transfer of patients to Korea by Abu Dhabi Health Authority and a news report concerning this through its renowned media indicates that there is a great expectation of Korean medicine in Abu Dhabi.
In addition, as the patient requiring kidney transplant who was given up by a renowned foreign hospital receives treatment in Korea, it will serve as a great opportunity to make known the expertise of Korean medicine worldwide.
He also added that through transfer of patients by Abu Dhabi Health Authority, an economic effect worth as much as USD 52 million a year is expected, quoting a local media report from Abu Dhabi.
Officials including Vice Director Khalid Al Sheikh from Dubai Health Authority also visited Korea from 10 Jan. to 13rd to discuss the opening of an office in Seoul for transfer of patients.
After sending a patient with esophageal tumor to Korea on 19 Dec. as a pilot case to check the level of Korean medicine, Dubai Health Authority is discussing with a Korean medical institution to send a patient who needs liver transplant as the second case.
Given this, it is expected that the transfer of patients will be accelerated not just from Abu Dhabi but also from the other parts of UAE, requiring the need for Korean medical institutions to get ready for patients from the Middle East.