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A serviceman with the worsening of an existing disease during military service can become a national honoree.

An officer serving in the military as a training officer (company-grade officer) after taking the officer-drill course in the Korea Army Academy at Yeong Cheon was hospitalized after suffering from symptoms such as vomiting, dizziness and high fever, and was diagnosed as being 'in the terminal stage of chronic renal failure.' In fact, the officer was already suffering from ‘stage 3 chronic renal failure’ when he took a physical examination for the selection of training officers, but an army surgeon failed to discover the disease and allowed the officer to pass the exam granting him the 1st-grade. The officer had never been aware that he was suffering from chronic renal failure until he was hospitalized. After being diagnosed as being in the terminal stage of chronic renal failure, the officer applied for registration as a person rendering distinguished services to the state with the Seoul Office of the Ministry of Patriots & Veteran Affairs upon being discharged from military service. However, the head of the Seoul Office of the Ministry of Patriots & Veteran Affairs decided that the officer's condition failed to meet the requirements for registration as a person rendering distinguished services to the state on the grounds that his condition did not fall under ‘disabilities caused from the performance of public duties' as he was already suffering from chronic renal failure when he joined the army. Then, the officer requested Shin & Kim represent himself to dispute the decision.  

 

Shin & Kim emphasized that not only a disease caused from the performance of public duties but also an existing disease worsened by the performance of public duties in a degree exceeding that of the natural course thereof should fall under ‘disabilities caused from the performance of public duties', and demonstrated through fact-finding processes at the Seoul National University Hospital which performed kidney-transplant surgery for the officer, the Republic of Korea Army Headquarters in charge of the selection of army officers, and the Korea Army Academy at Yeong Cheon where the officer served that the existing chronic renal failure of the officer worsened to a greater degree than that of the natural course of the disease due to overwork or overstrain. The court accepted Shin & Kim's demonstration and pronounced a ruling to revoke the judgment of the head of the Seoul Office of the Ministry of Patriots & Veteran Affairs that the officer’s condition failed to meet the requirements for registration as a person rendering distinguished services to the state.

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