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Court upholds acquittal of hospital officials over organ removal

Sep 28. 2016
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By KESINEE TAENGKHIEO

THE NATION

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THE SUPREME COURT yesterday upheld the acquittal of the former director of Samut Prakan’s Wachiraprakarn Hospital, along with two surgeons and a former manager, who had been found not guilty in removing the kidneys and liver of two accident victims in 199
The court ruled that the surgery to remove the organs was carried out only after the accident victims’ brains were damaged to such a degree that they were unable to breathe. 
Both were therefore medical-|ly dead, according to the verdict |read yesterday at Bangkok’s Ratchadapisek Criminal Court.
Charoen and Noodaeng, the |parents of accident victim Ladda Deeyotha, along with the public prosecutor had sued former |director Dr Siroj Kanchana-|panjapol, surgeon Dr Weeradech Lertdamronglak, manager Nanthawit Thongchai and surgeon Wiwat Thirapanich for murder and document forgery. 
The lawsuit alleged that between February 24 and 26, 1997, the defendants forged an organ donation document for Charoen and Ladda’s husband Somkiat Tanchanachai to sign before the surgeons removed her kidneys and liver. 
It also accused Siroj and Weeradech of removing the kidneys of another accident victim, Nong Phromma. The lawsuit claimed the two women were still alive and on respiratory-aid devices, and the removal of the organs had led to their deaths. 
The primary court in February 2005 acquitted all the defendants. Siroj was given the benefit of |doubt over a handwriting correction on an organ-donation document and the court was not convinced the four had done any-|thing to cause the patients’ brain-dead conditions, ruling that the organ-removal procedures were carried out after they were medically dead. 
The Appeals Court in September 2010 upheld the acquittal.
Ladda’s family did not attend yesterday’s verdict reading while Siroj declined to comment, although his lawyer told reporters that the verdict had proved the doctor’s actions were right. After 20 years of suffering, the court had finally given him justice, he said.

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