Korea Biomedical Review
Psychiatrists frustrated over alleged sexual predator’s continued medical practice
By Song Soo-youn

Psychiatrist Kim Hyun-chul

Psychiatrist Kim Hyun-chul

The Korea NeuroPsychiatric Association (KNPA) expressed resentment over the continued medical practice of a male psychiatrist, who was accused of sexually assaulting women patients.

One year ago, the association struck the name of Kim Hyun-chul off its member list for having an inappropriate relationship with his patients. The association requested the Korean Medical Association (KMA) and the Ministry of Health and Welfare to revoke Kim’s license, but no action was taken.

MBC’s journalism program PD Notebook aired “Good Doctor’s Dangerous Medical Care” on Tuesday, accusing Kim of sexually grooming his patients.

In the interview with PD Notebook, Kim said he was the victim, not the other way around.

However, the KNPA expelled Kim in March last year due to his sexual misconduct. The expulsion was the most forceful punishment imposed on a member of the KNPA, and Kim was the first case.

On March 24, the KNPA’s board members unanimously decided to delist Kim, submitted its investigation results involving Kim to the KMA and the health and welfare ministry, and demanded that they punish him. A year later, Kim was still practicing and seeing patients as a psychiatrist.

KMA’s central ethics committee has not made any conclusion yet. Even if the committee decides to take a disciplinary measure, the stiffest punishment will be a three-year suspension of KMA membership and request for an administrative penalty.

The KNPA also asked the health and welfare ministry to nullify Kim’s license, after elaborating what it has found. However, the association has failed to hear any answer from the ministry.

Kim filed a lawsuit against KNPA, claiming that the expulsion was unfair.

“As Kim took legal actions, the association appointed a lawyer to respond to the issue,” said Lim Ki-young, the KNPA’s ethics director and psychiatrist at Ajou University Hospital. “As legal issues surfaced after the association pointed out ethical issues, the KMA or the KNPA have become more cautious.”