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Trauma surgeon Lee Cook-jong named head of military hospital

The Defense Ministry appointed him as an honorary Navy Captain.

Dr. Lee wishes to “contribute to the improvement of the military medical system.”

He began work after an inauguration ceremony on December 28.


Trauma surgeon Lee Cook-jong named head of militar

Defense Minister Shin Won Sik gives a letter of appointment and a rank insignia to Dr. Lee Cook-jong, who was appointed as the head of the Armed Forces Daejeon Hospital, at the Defense Ministry building in Yongsan-gu, Seoul on December 27.


Surgeon Lee of Ajou University Hospital, Korea's leading authority in trauma treatment, was appointed as the head of Armed Forces Daejeon Hospital.


The Defense Ministry confirmed on December 27 that “Defense Minister Shin Won Sik appointed Dr. Lee Cook-jong, the Defense Ministry’s medical adviser, as the head of Armed Forces Daejeon Hospital.” The Ministry appointed him as an honorary Navy captain in addition to the appointment as the head of the hospital.


Lee applied for the position of head of the Armed Forces Daejeon Hospital, a process that began in August through open recruitment. The Defense Ministry said, "The Ministry selected Lee as the head of Armed Forces Daejeon Hospital based on his outstanding ability as a specialist in trauma surgery and his strong commitment to contribute to the medical services of the armed forces.”


Dr. Lee Cook-jong, South Korea's foremost authority on trauma surgery, has pioneered the treatment of trauma patients and the establishment of a transfer system. He was hired as a professor by Ajou University Medical College in 2002. Dr. Lee has further honed his expertise in trauma surgery through training at UC San Diego and the Royal London Hospital Trauma Center.


Based on his expertise, he has made significant contributions to improving national and regional emergency medical services systems, such as amending the Emergency Medical Services Act to establish regional trauma centers and operating a helicopter dedicated to emergency medical services in Gyeonggi Province (the so-called "Doctor Helicopter").


Lee successfully treated Seok Hae-kyun, captain of Samho Jewelry, who was severely wounded by bullets during Operation Dawn in the Gulf of Aden in January 2011, demonstrating his competence as the best trauma surgery specialist in Korea.


In recognition of his achievements, Dr. Lee was appointed as an honorary lieutenant in July 2015, where he assisted with emergency medical support for Navy sailors and the development of Navy medical affairs. Maintaining his relationship with the military, he was subsequently promoted to Honorary Navy Lieutenant Commander in April 2017 and to Honorary Commander in December 2018.


He has also participated in various military medical training, including naval cruise training and search and rescue training using maritime drones, and has provided numerous consultations to improve military medical service systems. Since August 2023, he has been a medical advisor to the Ministry of Defense.


Dr. Lee Cook-jong stated his mission: "As the head of the Armed Forces Daejeon Hospital, I will faithfully perform my duties to promote the health of soldiers dedicated to the nation, and I will actively cooperate with the Defense Ministry and the Armed Forces Medical Command to improve the military medical service system.”


In a meeting with journalists, he said, "I will play a pivotal role in managing the entire medical process from primary care to physical examination in the central and southern regions," and added, "I will dedicate myself in every way to promoting and protecting the welfare and lives of the troops with a future-oriented mindset.”


Minister Shin stated, “Our soldiers and citizens hold high expectations for having the nation's top trauma surgeon as the head of the Armed Forces Daejeon Hospital. I anticipate that he will greatly contribute to enhancing the telemedicine and emergency medical services systems currently under development by the military. Additionally, his expertise in private medical services, combined with his experience in military cooperation, is expected to significantly strengthen the medical capabilities of the hospital."


Dr. Lee will start work after attending an inauguration ceremony at the Armed Forces Daejeon Hospital on December 28. He has taken a leave of absence from Ajou University Hospital.

By Ah-Mi, Cho <>

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