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The number of seriously ill patients who were turned away by hospitals at least three times in 2008 came to 14,732, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said Thursday.

The figure, which accounts for 3.6 percent of all emergency treatment services nationwide, is up 345 cases compared with 2007, when the survey was first conducted. The cases, however, included one patient who got rejected 48 times.

Rejections are increasing in major cities, and the agency is making plans to address the problem through legislative means.

According to the survey, there were also 16,980 cases in which emergency crews had to stay over 30 minutes from where they picked up the patient because they were unable to find a medical institution that would admit the person.

A total of 903 patients were rejected 10 times or more, with the most frequent reason being “difficulty to treat,” followed by “beds are full.”

In a survey on emergency services for pregnant women, including those with minor symptoms, and for children younger than 15, the agency found that 749 of the women and 9,146 of the children were refused admittance three times or more.

“Difficult to treat” was the most frequently cited reason for rejecting pregnant women, while “outside of our field” was most the frequently cited reason for rejecting children.

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