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Singapore Airlines passenger complains about ‘heavy handed’ staff at Samitivej Hospital

Bangkok’s Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital has come under scrutiny in recent days after some alleged heavy-handed action by hospital and security staff regarding an Australian patient, a victim of the Singapore Airlines flight turbulence last Tuesday.

Keith Davis, an Australian passenger, remains stranded in Bangkok without clear answers from the airline. Hospital staff have also prevented the media from talking to him.

His wife has been in intensive care since the flight from London to Singapore made an emergency landing in Bangkok.

Before hospital staff silenced him, Davis spoke to media in a hospital cafe. He expressed frustration with the airline, which he said has a strong presence at Bangkok’s Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital since the emergency.

In a public café inside the hospital, staff surrounded Davis as he prepared to speak. They even called security for reinforcement.

“We’ve had no information from Singapore. Not a single word.”

Davis attempted to discuss his concerns with the Australian ABC’s Bill Birtles on Thursday but was prevented by officials for reasons that were not explained.

Davis, who is in a wheelchair with visible facial injuries, tried to buy the reporter a cup of tea or coffee. But staff emphatically closed down the situation, and after the reporter offered to pay for the coffee, the staff snatched the money from him.

Not long after, hospital staff took control of Davis’ wheelchair and rushed him towards the elevator. Davis was in the middle of conversations with the assembled media, including a call from a reporter at the Washington Post.

The staff, who identified themselves as hospital employees, claimed they were “ordered to prevent patients from speaking to the media”.

Media from around the world have gathered at the Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital, where most injured passengers are being treated. Although interactions with patients have been respectful, the large number of cameras and microphones in the public area could be seen as intimidating.

When informed of the incident yesterday, a hospital spokesman expressed “concern” and promised to investigate, and said that there were no orders to stop patients from speaking to the media from wither the hospital or Singapore Airlines.

The airline has not commented on the matter yet.

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