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Thai doctor in Swiss expat case says she has ‘stress’

PHOTO: Nation Thailand

A Phuket doctor at the centre of an assault case involving a Swiss expat says she is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the incident.

Thandao Chandam, a doctor at Dibuk Hospital, claims Urs Fehr kicked her in the back as she and a friend sat on steps leading to his rented Cape Yamu villa. The incident took place on the night of February 24 and the resulting furore prompted a crackdown on “law-breaking foreigners” in Phuket and further afield.

Fehr’s court hearing is expected to take place in the coming weeks, but Thandao has spoken out to express concerns that he may get off lightly. For his alleged assault on the doctor, Fehr is expected to be charged under Section 295 of the Criminal Code.

The section states:

“Whoever causes injury to another person in body or mind is said to commit bodily harm, and shall be punished with imprisonment not exceeding 2 years or fined not exceeding 4,000 baht, or both.”

However, Fehr denies the charge and Dr Thandao says it doesn’t take her mental distress into account. She says she no longer has any pain in her back, where Fehr allegedly kicked her, but has been left with “psychological damage”.

“I am feeling frightened all the time, and I cannot sleep, I keep having nightmares. I really want this matter to end with me getting justice because of the effects of what he did. This made me have to consult a psychiatrist because of the nightmares. The psychiatrist said it was post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, and requires taking medication to help me sleep.”

She goes on to say that she has a medical certificate to confirm her diagnosis and is due to start treatment for PTSD.

“Even though it’s been a month since the incident, I now have a medical certificate from a government hospital and an appointment with the doctor for treatment next week.”

The medic says she has asked the authorities about having Fehr charged under Section 391 of the Criminal Code instead. Section 391 states as follows:

“Any person who commits a forcible attack against another shall, if the attack is not serious to the extent causing the victim to sustain any bodily or mental harm, be liable to imprisonment for not more than one month, or a fine not exceeding 1,000 baht or both.”

The authorities have responded by pointing out that the penalty under Section 391 is less than Section 295, which Fehr is currently being charged under.

Meanwhile, Chalermpong Saengdee, a Phuket Move Forward MP who has been supporting Dr Thandao, says the case needs to be handled appropriately or it risks sending the wrong message.

“This case is a sensitive issue for society, affecting all Thai people. If the people responsible hand down a weak decision, say that it is just a misdemeanour, it will send a message that foreigners can bully Thai people. If that happens, this matter will greatly affect the doctor and Thai people.”

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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