The North Korean soldier who was severely injured while defecting to the South last week has regained consciousness, officials here said Tuesday.
South Korean government officials said the soldier is awake after he underwent two major surgeries at Ajou University Hospital in Suwon, south of Seoul.
Via Daily Caller:
“Is this actually South Korea? I want to hear South Korean songs,” the man said after waking up in a South Korean medical facility, presumably curious as to whether or not he made it to the South, the JoongAng Daily introduced. The medical staff hung the South Korean flag in the man’s hospital room to comfort him, Yonhap News Agency revealed.
The suspected staff sergeant in his 20s made a mad dash into the South in the Joint Security Area at the Demilitarized Zone Monday. His comrades, apparently using weaponry not permitted in the JSA, opened fire on the defector. Amid a barrage of bullets, the young man’s brazen blitz was successful.
After collapsing in a pile of leaves, he was rescued by South Korean military personnel and airlifted to Ajou University Hospital in Suwon, South Korea, where he underwent two major surgeries to remove the bullets, pull roundworms from the man’s intestine, and combat infection, blood poisoning, and Hepatitis B.
The man appears to be recovering, but he is not quite out of the woods just yet.
“The soldier has regained consciousness and he requested to watch television,” a South Korean government official revealed to the Yonhap News Agency. “For the soldier’s psychological comfort, we’ve shown the patient South Korean movies and he has recovered enough to watch television.”
“The defector is able to express his thoughts to medical staff,” the official explained, “At this moment, we think that the patient has overcome a serious condition, [but] the defector is suffering from fear and heavy stress from the gunshots that wounded him.” The medical personnel tasked with the soldier’s care are treating mental scars as well as physical ailments.
Although there were media reports that the patient has identified himself as a 25-year-old soldier surnamed Oh, South Korean military officials denied such report, saying that they have yet to interview the soldier and verify his identification.
Meanwhile, Lee Cook-jong, who conducted the surgery on the North Korean, reportedly plans to have a briefing on his patient’s condition on Wednesday. Following Lee’s advice, South Korea’s joint interrogation team is expected to question the soldier three or four days later, according to the official.