“He is a foreigner, has no relatives, we don’t know how to seek reimbursement of his medical bills. Why don’t you take him to a nearby public hospital?”
A private hospital in Bangkok is making headlines internationally after turning away a severely injured tourist who subsequently died.
A report in the UK’s Metro newspaper details how Vibharam Hospital refused to treat 41 year old Taiwanese national, Andy Chen, due to concerns over payment.
Mr Chen was seriously injured after being struck by a car in a hit-and-run incident in the capital on the night of December 8.
Police and rescue workers who rushed to the scene on Pattanakarn Soi 50 found Mr Chen unconscious. Paramedics performed CPR and placed Chen in an ambulance, where he was attached to an oxygen mask and IV drip.
While the ambulance was waiting for a response from nearby hospitals, Mr Chen regained consciousness, prompting the crew to rush him to Vibraham Hospital, which was just 500 metres away.
In a video of what happened next, a nurse supervisor can be seen shouting at the paramedics for bringing the patient to her hospital.
“We told you we weren’t accepting patients, so why would you bring him here? He is a foreigner, has no relatives, we don’t know how to seek reimbursement of his medical bills. Why don’t you take him to a nearby public hospital?”
The paramedic can then be heard telling her the hospital is obliged to accept the patient.
“It’s in your hospital area now. If you don’t accept him, you wait until the health ministry deals with you.”
Rescue workers subsequently tried to get the patient to a government hospital some 10 kilometres away but he died on the way.
Dr Sura Wisetsak from the Thai health ministry has confirmed the hospital is now under investigation for failing in its legal obligation to treat an emergency patient.
“Hospital staff found guilty of refusing to provide emergency treatment to a patient in danger could face imprisonment of up to 2 years, a fine of up to 40,000 baht, or both.”
Thailand’s Universal Coverage for Emergency Patients states…
“Emergency patients are ensured of their full accessibility to essential and safe emergency medical care at government and private hospitals without having any conditions or service fee being charged on the patients within the first 72 hours of their first admission or until their conditions are fit for being transferred to their registered hospitals.”
Meanwhile, a 51 year old man has reportedly handed himself into police in connection with the hit-and-run and faces charges of driving while under the influence of alcohol.