Swedish Red Cross Field Hospital (SRCH) in Korea, 1950-54
Two days after North Korea attacked South Korea on June 25, 1950, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution which called member countries to support South Korea.
Already in the beginning of July, the Swedish Government announced that it was prepared to consider using measures of other than armed forces. On July 16, the Swedish Government decided to send a field hospital consisting of 174 voluntary medical and service staff organized by the Red Cross.
The first group of employees left Stockholm on 26 August 1950 and was a month later, on 23 September able to land on Korean soil in Busan. The staff had then travelled via the United States, where supplies and equipment was provided. Two days later the field hospital received its first patients, 68 US soldiers. Thus was the first non-US Medical Unit during the Korean war in operation. The establishment of a 200-bed hospital was in connection to Busan commercial high school about five miles north of the port. The hospital also came early to treat North Korean POWs.
Just a few days before the Swedish field hospital arrived in Busan, UN forces landed at Incheon and advanced towards Seoul, while the embattled UN forces in Busan area broke away from the enclosure and advanced North. Because of the uncertain situation, the commander of the 8th US Army , under which the Swedish field hospital was subject to, decided to maintain the hospital’s grouping in Busan, rather than letting it follow the warring military advance northwards. Hence the hospital developed towards an evacuation hospital, later with about 600 beds, and based in Busan during the entire course of the war.
Between 25 September 1950 and 31 December 1953, the hospital treated 19100 UN soldiers and 2400 Korean soldiers. In addition, even North Korean and Chinese prisoners of war and many civilian Koreans.
During the war served 1.124 Swedish men and women at the field hospital in Busan.
1954 The military hospital was reconstituted to the Swedish Hospital in Busan, and appeared there more or less as a civilian hospital until April 1957 when it ceased its activities after more than 1000 additional Swedes have served there since after the war. A smaller group were however retained as aid for Korean Red Cross, adjacent to the autumn of 1958.
1958 The Scandinavian teaching hospital was formed (NMC) in Seoul where 90 different positions was ordained to Scandinavian doctors and nurses. The hospital was transferred to the Korean Government in 1968 after nearly 150 Swedes have served there. Still, one can visit a small museum to remember the Scandinavians at the NMC in central Seoul although there are plans to move the hospital out of the City Center.