Dozens of parasitic worms removed from defector's intestines: doctor

By Lim Chang-won Posted : November 15, 2017, 18:13 Updated : November 15, 2017, 18:13

Doctor Lee Guk-jong speaks at Ajou University Hospital in Suwon about his operation. [Yonhap News Photo]

Along with bullets, dozens of parasitic worms, including a 27-centimeter-long roundworm, have been removed from the intestines of a North Korean soldier who defected through a border truce village this week, a doctor said.

The soldier aboard a helicopter was rushed to Ajou University Hospital in Suwon south of Seoul for treatment of multiple gunshot wounds to his solder, abdomen and thigh after he defected Monday through the truce village of Panmunjom in the middle of the demilitarized zone (DMZ) which bisects the Korean peninsula.

He was still in critical condition after two emergency operations because penetrating wounds severely damaged and contaminated internal organs.

"Dozens of parasitic worms were found inside the ruptured small intestine," doctor Lee Guk-jong told reporters Wednesday. "Contamination by intestinal worms was very severe."

Lee admitted he had never seen such an amount of parasites in the 20-year history of surgery. The soldier is 170 centimeters tall and weighs 60 kilograms, and feces found in his internal organs mostly composed of maize.

The doctor said he was not certain of the soldier's recovery because of a prolonged state of shock caused by massive bleeding and severe contamination by feces and parasites. He received first aid administered by an American medical team before he was transferred to Lee's hospital.

The northern side of the joint security area in and around Panmunjom, the only inter-Korean contact point inside the DMZ, has been controlled by North Korean soldiers. The southern side has been guarded by American and South Korean troops.

The defector used a jeep but he got off to run after its wheels fell into a drain. His desperate 50-meter final run sparked a barrage of shots from North Korean border guards armed with pistols and AK-47 rifles.

The rare defection through Panmunjom came amid high tensions caused by Pyongyang's missile and nuclear tests, did not escalate into a cross-border exchange of shooting. Two North Korean soldiers defected through Panmunjom in 1998 and 2007.

기사 이미지 확대 보기