BANGKOK — Public health officials on Wednesday (Dec 13) will question staff at a private hospital in Bangkok about an incident in which an unconscious Taiwanese tourist died after being denied admission following an accident.
Thailand Public Health Minister Cholnan Srikaew ordered the investigation by the Department of Health Service Support (DHSS) and the National Institute for Emergency Medicine (NIEM) after learning of the incident, said Dr Sura Wisetsak, the DHSS director-general.
The case was first brought to light on the Facebook page “Yak Dang Diew Jad Hai (Limelight Generator) Return Part 6” on Dec 8.
According to the Taiwan Tourism Bureau, the deceased, identified only as Chen, had travelled to Bangkok with a group of 19 people. He notified the tour leader before leaving the group and travelling alone on Dec 7, and was later severely injured in a car crash.
According to the account on the Facebook page, a volunteer rescuer from the Ruamkatanyu Foundation reported that Chen was found injured in the middle of the road on Phatthanakan Soi 50 in Suan Luang, Bangkok at 1.50am on Dec 8.
He was taken to a private hospital 500m from where he was found, as he was unconscious after receiving cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
However, he was reportedly denied admission by a supervisor and a nurse in the hospital’s emergency room, who suggested he be taken to a public hospital.
Both staff reportedly said that treating Chen, a foreigner not accompanied by any relatives, could lead to expenses the hospital might not be able to recoup.
The first responders decided to send Chen to Sirindhorn Hospital, where he later succumbed to his injuries, according to the Facebook page.
“The hospital will be investigated to determine whether its patient assessment principles follow the government’s Universal Coverage for Emergency Patients policy,” said Dr Sura.
“The assessment of transferring one patient to another hospital is also being included in the investigation.”
According to the NIEM, unconscious patients are classified as critical emergency patients who require immediate treatment after they are rescued.
Denying treatment to such a patient is considered unacceptable, Dr Sura said, adding that it also violates Thailand’s Medical Facilities Act.
If found culpable, the hospital staff involved could face jail of up to two years, fines of up to 40,000 baht (S$1,500), or both, he added.
Ms Sudawan Wangsuphakijkosol, the minister of tourism and sports, has also been briefed on the case. She said she had asked the related agencies to come up with better protective measures to avoid any repeat of such a tragic incident. BANGKOK POST