North Korea Defector
United Nations Command spokesman Colonel Chad G. Carroll shows a surveillance TV footage containing the moment of defection of a North Korean soldier, during a press briefing at the Defence Ministry in Seoul, Nov. 22, 2017. Getty Images

A soldier who defected from North Korea has been consumed by nightmares of being sent back to the oppressive regime, his doctor said. The 24-year-old, identified only as Oh, ran across the heavily guarded border between North and South Korea earlier in November and was shot multiple times by North Korean soldiers.

He was found about 150 feet south of the demilitarized zone border and taken to South Korea for treatment where he remained.

Oh, who reportedly joined the North Korean army when he was 17, was plagued by worries he would be sent back to North Korea, lead surgeon John Cook-Jong Lee said, according to the New York Post.

“This North Korean guy is not going anywhere,” Lee assured. “He is staying in South Korea.”

The doctor said a South Korean flag was hung in the man’s room as a form of reassurance and that staff had been careful to avoid any upsetting subjects to ensure his psychological recovery.

Lee called the soldier a “strong man” but said he would likely have problems for the rest of his life due to his escape. Oh reportedly had two types of roundworms — one almost a foot long — as well as hepatitis B and inactive tuberculosis, according to the Korean Biomedical Review. During his stay in the South Korean hospital, Oh was being introduced to movies and television shows not allowed in the hermit kingdom of North Korea.

“I have started talking with the patient, and we have been joking around about K-pop and movies,” Lee said. “We turned on the television for him since Tuesday and he seems to like American sitcoms and K-pop music such as Girls’ Generation.”

Oh’s defection apparently had wide-ranging effects in North Korea. A report on South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency revealed signs that North Korea had replaced all its border security officials following the soldier’s defection.

“Given the situation, commanders of the responsible military unit and senior officers might have undergone punishment,” a source told Yonhap.