Reported by Ryan Pickrell | China/Asia Pacific Reporter | 9:48 AM 11/16/2017
The North Korean soldier who suffered multiple gunshot wounds during a brazen blitz into South Korea at the Demilitarized Zone remains in critical condition, according to South Korean reports. In a hail of gunfire, a bold North Korean soldier ran into South Korea Monday at the Joint Security Area at the DMZ. His comrades fired around 40 rounds, five of which hit the defector. He has undergone multiple surgeries to remove the bullets and address infection. The soldier remains unconscious and is on life support in the intensive care unit at a South Korean medical facility, where he is being treated by renowned trauma surgeon Dr. Lee Kook-jong.
One issue in particular was the presence of several large parasites, the longest of which was 10.5 inches, in the man’s intestines. The parasites complicated the surgery to remove the bullets from the man’s abdomen, the Chosun Ilbo reports.
“An incredible amount of parasites was found in the stomach of the soldier from the JSA, so we are having trouble treating him,” Lee told reporters. “We’ve never seen anything like it in a Korean person before, and it can bring about tremendous complications and make a prognosis difficult.” The worms were reportedly all inside the man’s small intestine as well.
“We discovered parasites that are simply not found in people in this country,” he explained, “I haven’t seen them in my 20 years as a doctor except in textbooks.” The parasites were reportedly roundworms, which are common in developing countries like North Korea, where crops are fertilized with human feces.
“In South Korea, no matter how poor you are, preventive measures are offered so that no such parasites can exist,” he added. North Korean soldiers are believed to be extremely malnourished. It is unclear what North Korean soldiers are eating or the quality of the supplies provided. The discovery of parasites in the man’s gut provides insight into the current state and condition of North Korean troops.
The North Korean, who South Korea’s National Intelligence Service suspects was a noncommissioned officer, probably a staff sergeant, lost 50 ounces of blood and was in shock for a long time. The South Korean military found him collapsed in a pile of leaves at the DMZ.
Infections from parasites, the gunshot wounds, the blood loss, and prolonged shock are all factors that could prove fatal for the young man, who is believed to be in his 20s.