South Korean patients urge resolution of doctors' protest

STORY: This patient in South Korea says he struggled to find doctors to treat his injuries amid a massive walkout by trainee medics that has entered its third day.

Emergency departments at all but one of the country's major hospitals were on red alert on Thursday.

“It's frustrating, very frustrating. Obviously, it's ridiculous that there are no doctors at a place meant for treatment. I just can't stand it.”

34-year-old Kim says he waited long hours in overcrowded emergency rooms with a broken leg.

He says he tried three hospitals but no doctors were available to treat him.

Here he is at the state-run National Medical Center in the capital where he finally received the surgery he needed.

"I'd been in an accident before and at that time, my abdomen was cut open. If that had happened while doctors were on walkout like now, I would have died."

Almost two-thirds of the country's young doctors have walked off their jobs in South Korea.

That's despite the government threatening to prosecute the protesters leading the walkout.

Hospitals have been forced to turn away patients and cancel surgeries, raising fears about further disruptions to the medical system.

The doctors are opposing a government proposal to admit more students to medical schools,

which authorities say could help cope with the country's aging population and boost healthcare in remote areas.

Those against the measures said there are enough doctors.

The real issue is, they said, low wages and overwork.

And some argue the increase in admission may compromise the quality of medical education.

Here is patient Lee Joo-hyung.

"I've been diagnosed with asthma, so I need to go to hospital every 3 months (to get medicine). Luckily, I received treatment today, but since many doctors have submitted resignations, we don't know what will happen at the next doctor's appointment. So, I'm really worried about that, and I hope that I can keep receiving treatment."

A recent poll showed about 76 percent of Koreans favor the government's plan.

It is now calling on doctors to stop their protests and prioritize their patients.

Those like Kim desperately hope both sides can reach a compromise.

“If the government truly cares for its people, I hope they take a step back now, and doctors also take a step back, so that patients won't be harmed."