Korean J Med Hist.  1998 Dec;7(2):239-253.

Kim Pil Soon, A Great Doctor

  • 1Department of Medical History and Anatomy, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Korea.


Kim Pil Soon was born at Sorae Village of Hwang Hye Province, the birth place of the Protestantism in Korean. He was brought up under the strong influence of Christianity and received modern education at Pae Chae School according to the ecommendation of Rev. Underwood. In 1899, Kim Pil Soon, who had been working at Je Joong Won as an assistant and nterpreter of Dr. Sharrocks, was employed by Dr. Avison to help preparing medical textbooks and asked to participate in the medical education. He acquired medical knowledges through his work of translating various medical texts, and which enabled him to teach other medical students. He participated in the administration of the Hospital, taking charge of the provision of meals for in-patients as well as directing the construction of Severance Hospital buildings. And his experience of treating soldiers wounded during the turmoil of the forced dismission of the Korean Army by the Japanese lead him to reflect seriously on Korea's fate in peril. In addition, he became a member of Sinmin Society, a secret political association, to engage in the independence movement. In 1908, Kim Pil Soon graduated from Severance Hospital Medical School as one of the first seven graduates. On graduation, he was appointed as a professor and took the charge of school affaires in 1910. At first, he worked as a assistant physician of ward and surgery, then he took the responsibility of out-patient clinic in 1911. But suddenly, in December 1911, he exiled to China to escape from the Japanese police who was in pursuit of him on account of his involvement in the so-called 105-Person Affaire, a fabricated affaire served as a pretext for the persecution of independence movement. He continued the independence movement in the form of an ideal village movement and training the Independence Army. In 1919, however, he was poisoned to death in a mysterious way. Kim Pil Soon dedicated himself to the independence movement that demands personal sacrifice: giving up his prospective career as a doctor, professor, and hospital administrator. He no longer remained as a ordinary clinician who treats only diseased persons, but transformed himself to the Great Doctor, a time-old ideal type of doctor in the East Asian countries who treats and cures the diseased nation, by dedicating himself to the independence movement.


Kim Pil Soon; Great Doctor; Severance Hospital Medical School; Dr. Avison; independence movement

MeSH Terms

Education, Medical/*history
English Abstract
History of Medicine, 19th Cent.
History of Medicine, 20th Cent.
Missions and Missionaries/*history
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