“I know that North Korea has ambulances but I have never seen one on the streets. I don't know how to call for one or how accessible they are. In reality, if you have to go to the hospital, you need to walk or someone has to carry you on their back.”
Without essential medicines, health facilities in North Korea clearly cannot rovide services such as surgery without endangering the lives of their patients. Song, a 6-year-old woman from Musan, North Hamgyong province, told Amnesty International that she had to undergo surgery to remove her appendix in 2001 without anaesthesia because the hospital had one available:
“The operation took about an hour and ten minutes. I was screaming so much from the pain, I thought I was going to die. They had tied my hands and legs to prevent me from moving. I was hospitalised for one week and then I recovered for about a month at home.”
Similarly in 2000, Hwang, a 24-year-old man from Hwasung, North Hamgyong province, had his left ankle crushed by a moving train when he fell from one of the arriages. Without any anaesthesia, his doctor amputated part of his left leg from the calf down:
“Five medical assistants held my arms and legs down to keep me from moving. I was in so much pain that I screamed and eventually fainted from the pain. I woke up one week later in a hospital bed.”
Amnesty International - The Crumbling State of Health Care in North Korea (PDF)
Abschließend heißt es in dem 54-Seiten Bericht, der ein schockierendes Bild des nordkoreanischen Gesundheitssystems aufzeichnet:
Although it has been almost two decades since North Korea was hit by famine, the country continues to face a food and economic crisis, which is taking a heavy toll on the health of the population. Despite assertions by the North Korean government that “everyone in the DPRK receives medical service of all categories equally, practically and free of charge”,185 interviews with North Koreans, corroborating evidence and other research demonstrate that the North Korean government has not met its obligations to respect, protect and fulfil the right to health of its citizens. This report has documented the devastating impact of longterm food insecurity on the population’s health, the country’s decaying health care infrastructure, failure to provide basic health care, and a lack of public health education and information.