Hyang San Hospital: Kim Jong Un’s “heart care center”

Daily NK source provides more information about the history of Hyang San Hospital, where Kim Jong Un's surgery took place

There were particular reasons why North Korean leader Kim Jong Un underwent a cardiovascular procedure at the Hyang San Hospital instead of a hospital in Pyongyang, a Daily NK source in the country has reported.

In a phone call with the source on Apr. 22, Daily NK learned that Hyang San Hospital was designated for the exclusive use of the Kim family in 2014 after the North Korean leader began suffering from “medical issues.”

The hospital, however, was first established after the death of Kim Il Sung in 1994, according to the source.

“Kim Il Sung fell ill at the Hyang San Villa in 1994 and there was so much rain that his helicopter couldn’t take off. He ultimately died of an ‘severe myocardial infarction along with a heart attack’ [as reported by North Korean state media],” the source said.

Kim Jong Il ordered the creation of the hospital after his father’s death because of a belief that a hospital in the area would have saved the aged leader.

The source explained that the geographical features of the area played a part in constructing the hospital there. Building the hospital in Pyongyang would attract attention; however, building it in a more remote place would make it less susceptible to prying eyes from the outside.

“The hospital’s location is ideal because Hyang San is close to Pyongyang and access to it is restricted – this is particularly important because if something happens to the leader then [such a situation] could cause unrest among the population,” the source said.

According to the source, Hyang San Hospital has long been maintained as a special facility to deal with heart-related medical issues.

“The very best equipment from Germany and Japan was imported and placed in the hospital,” the source said, adding, “The doctors at the hospital are all the best of the best and even though they live in Hyang San, their identification cards state they are residents of Pyongyang’s Jung District and are afforded the same treatment as Pyongyang residents.”

KIM’S HEART SPECIALIST

On. Apr. 20, Daily NK reported that the doctor who managed Kim’s procedure is from Kim Man Yoo (Kim Man Yu) hospital.

“Kim Man Yoo Hospital is considered particularly well suited to deal with heart-related issues in North Korea,” the source explained.

He noted that the doctor who managed Kim’s procedure is an expert in cardiovascular-related diseases and was even sent abroad for training after becoming designated as a cardiovascular specialist for the North Korean leader.

“The doctor worked for about a year in the cardiovascular department at Kim Man Yoo Hospital before being selected for a training program in Germany,” the source said.

Taking this into account, it was not unusual for him to manage Kim’s heart procedure, he added.

The doctor is reportedly so prized by the leadership that he lives in a carefully guarded section of Pyongyang and travels with his own bodyguards.

“While the doctor does go to Kim Man Yoo Hospital once a month, he is allowed to manage, observe and engage in clinical trials at any time to ensure he is always ready to treat the leader’s heart problems,” the source explained.

The doctors remaining at Hyang San Hospital to watch over Kim are “all men and have experience studying in Germany,” he said, adding, “They all are experts on cardiovascular matters, but they also have specialties in other areas such as the respiratory system.”

Please direct any comments or questions about this article to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.

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Ha Yoon Ah is one of Daily NK's full-time journalists. Please direct any questions about her articles to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.