Doctor in South Korea reportedly performs abortion on wrong woman, police say

A doctor in South Korea reportedly performed an abortion on the wrong woman after medical staff mixed up her identity with another patient, according to Seoul Gangseo Police.

Seoul Gangseo Police said a doctor and nurse were under investigation for allegedly conducting an abortion on a woman who was six weeks pregnant after failing to check the patient's information before the operation, according to the Korea Herald.

Investigators said the patient, a Vietnamese woman, was prescribed a nutritional injection on Aug. 7. According to the newspaper citing police, the nurse mistakenly injected her with anesthesia without confirming her identity, and the doctor then allegedly performed the abortion, also without confirming her information.

Unaware of the procedure, the woman returned to the hospital the next day after bleeding and was told she had gone through an abortion, the Korea Herald reported.

Seoul Gangseo Police announced the investigation on Monday. The doctor and nurse are being accused of professional negligence for failing to perform their duty of confirming the patient's identity prior to the medical procedure, the newspaper reported.

South Korea moved to legalize abortion in April — with its constitutional court ruling that current regulations must be eased by the end of 2020. However, abortion remains illegal except in certain instances, including rape or incest, disease or when a pregnancy seriously jeopardizes a woman's health.

A woman can be punished with up to one year in prison for having an illegal abortion. A doctor can receive up to two years for performing an intentional, unauthorized abortion.

South Korean law dictates that abortion without consent is only applicable when a person deliberately conducts an abortion without the agreement or the request of the patient. In this case, since the abortion was conducted unintentionally, the charges cannot be applied, the newspaper reported.

This story was reported from Cincinnati.