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NMI patients consult with Korea doctors via video call

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ABOUT a dozen patients on Saipan consulted their doctors who were in Busan, South Korea through a video call on Thursday in the grand ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Saipan.

Pauline Tudela talks to a doctor in South Korea during a video aftercare consultation.
Kang Dong Orthopedic Hospital officials pose with CNMI officials and patients in the Hyatt ballroom.  Photos by Emmanuel T. Erediano

Kang Dong Orthopedic Hospital president Shin Hyeok Kang, vice president Sharky Kang, and international healthcare director HyunBong “Shon” Park were on island to meet personally with the Saipan patients during the video call.

Most of the patients had problems with their knees, spine or shoulders, and were accompanied by the CNMI Medical Referral Services staffers led by program director Ronald Sablan.

The patients had been referred to Kang Dong Orthopedic Hospital, and the video call allowed them to discuss aftercare concerns with their Korean doctors.

The partnership between the CNMI Medical Referral Office and Kang Dong Orthopedic Hospital started in 2017. In the following year, the CNMI started sending medical referral patients to Busan where they underwent state-of-the-art medical treatment with the use of advanced technology, Sablan said.

He added that the aftercare video consultation saves the medical referral office a lot of money.

Kang Dong Hospital, he said. does not charge the CNMI for video consultations.

In his remarks in the Hyatt ballroom on Thursday, Sablan expressed his appreciation to Kang Dong Hospital for providing “the best orthopedic services” to CNMI patients.

He noted that almost 100 percent of CNMI patients are very pleased with Kang Dong’s services.

House Floor Leader John Paul Sablan, who was also in the Hyatt ballroom on Thursday, said four years ago, he and then-Rep. Angel Demapan accepted Dr. Kang’s invitation to look into the possibility of sending CNMI medical referral patients to South Korea.

“Fast forward to this day, and I am really grateful and have to give credit to Mr. Ronald Sablan for the exciting partnership with Kang Dong Hospital,” the House floor leader said. “It is my understanding that it is the only foreign hospital that has taken the initiative to come to the CNMI and conduct aftercare services for their patients. I thank Dr. Kang for this great partnership.”

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