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Army Raises Health Exemption Criteria

Posted January. 25, 2006 03:00,   

Updated November. 30, -0001 00:00


Military authorities will increase their oversight of military physical examination regulations that draft dodgers often exploit to avoid military service.

Under the new rules, 12 disorders, including Glomerulonephritis, will be examined more stringently, and exemption regulations on 14 disorders, including rare diseases that need long-term treatment, such as Ankylosing spondylitis and mental disorders, will be eased.

The Ministry of National Defense says the new regulations will go into effect February 1.

The changes include tougher regulations for Glomerulonephritis (inflammation in the glomerulus, a filtering organ in the kidneys) and Nasolacrimal duct constriction (that causes tears to flow as the nasolacrimal duct narrows). Patients suffering these disorders will be categorized as Class 4 and required to serve supplementary military service, instead of being exempt all together (Class 5). Glomerulonephritis patients will be placed under observation for more than six months, and only exam results by the Military Manpower Administration will be acknowledged. These changes come after a number of professional baseball players were caught diluting urine samples with Albumin liquid obtained from brokers and submitting false diagnoses from private hospitals last year.

Applicants with gastric ulcers, duodenal ulcers, Keloid scars, and Hexadactyly (more than six digits) ,who have few problems functioning normally, and those who have seven types of body coordination problems, such as those who can move their arm joints no more than 30 degrees, will be rated as fit for active service (Class 3) as opposed to supplementary military service. Those with Raynaud`s Syndrome, a disorder that affects the blood vessels in the fingers causing pain and gangrene in fingertip tissues who used to be exempt from service will have to report for supplementary military service, according to the Defense Ministry.

In addition, three disorders that previously had no related rules, including severe cases of epilepsy (after brain surgery) , Cardiac tumors, and Nutcracker Syndrome (a cardiac disease accompanied by pain as veins press arteries) will now receive criteria, while low blood pressure and Nephrosclerosis (a kidney malfunction) will be excluded. To prevent possible accidents, those with mental disorders such as affective disorder and neurosis that require close observation on a long term basis will be exempt from military service if they have medical records of more than a month’s hospitalization.

Revised regulations for military physicals are available on the websites of the Ministry of National Defense (www.mnd.go.kr) and the Military Manpower Administration. (www.mma.go.kr)

Sang-Ho Yun ysh1005@donga.com