Christian Hospitals and Their Contribution to Korean Society During the Korean War
연세의사학, Vol.15(2) : 7~28, 2012
Liberation from Japanese rule in 1945 provided Korea with many possibilities in framing Korean society. However, unstable political and economic situations allowed for only limited options, and health issues were of low priority for the new government. Although medical services are of a public character, the government paid relatively little attention to providing medical services. The public sector had shrunk compared to the period of colonial government, and the U.S. military administration was reflected by the reduced number of health personnel in the government and a reduced budget. As a result, most medical services were provided by private practitioners. During this period, it was Christian hospitals that played a public role in Korean society. Severance Hospital ran several different hospitals for civilian refugees during the Korean War. Dongsan Hospital ran a special ward for war orphans, and Jesus Hospital in Jeonju ran a community health care system and launched the cancer patient registration project. It is a pity that such contributions of Christian hospitals to Korean society have not been sufficiently valued. Results from evaluations of their past contributions show that new efforts are required for further contributions to Korea’s changing society.