By The Nation
THE HEALTH Service Support Department (HSSD) will sue Praram 2 Hospital over its handling of an acid-attack victim who passed away on November 9 shortly after seeking its services.
“Our fact-finding panel has concluded that there are grounds to believe Praram 2 Hospital might have violated laws or committed as many as five legal offences,” HSSD director-general Nattawuth Prasertsiripong said yesterday.
The 15-member panel has reviewed evidence and testimonies from various sides, including the victim’s family and the hospital’s representatives.
On November 9, 38-year-old Chorladda Tharawan came to Praram 2 Hospital in a taxi at dawn with acid injuries on her face. But she left soon after in another taxi to seek treatment at Bang Mod Hospital, where she was entitled to free treatment, and where she was pronounced dead.
Several questions emerged as to whether Praram 2 should be held responsible for Choladda’s death.
According to the fact-finding panel, the operator of Praram 2 Hospital allegedly failed to ensure that licensed medical workers provided services within their fields of expertise as only its nurses checked and diagnosed Chorladda’s condition without involving a doctor.
The panel also pointed out that the hospital might have failed to ensure medical workers complied with the laws, as no doctor saw the patient despite the seriousness of Chorladda’s condition.
In addition, the hospital apparently did not follow guidelines about how to categorise emergency patients and neither did it deliver proper medical help to an emergency patient.
The panel also said that Praram 2 Hospital did not ensure a proper transfer of the patient, as it did not issue a referral letter.
“We will lodge a complaint with police to bring the case to court,” Nattawuth said.
If convicted of all these alleged offences, the operator of Praram 2 Hospital will face both a fine and a jail term. Most of these offences are punishable by a jail term of up to two years, and a maximum fine of Bt40,000.
Nattawuth said nurses involved in the case were also found to have failed to comply with standard practices and ethical rules, because they did not consult doctors in handling Chorladda’s case.
“We will complain to the Thailand Nursing and Midwifery Council,” he said.
He added that the HSSD had already ordered a temporary closure of the outpatient building of Praram 2 Hospital, pending its compliance with laws.
“It has operated the outpatient building at a modified structure without seeking a proper permit,” Nattawuth said.
He said the hospital had 15 days to seek a proper permit.
“If it does not come forward, we may consider revoking its operating licence,” he said.
Asked whether Praram 2 Hospital had any doctor on duty at the time of Chorladda’s arrival, Nattawuth said documents showed there was a doctor in service but no one brought Chorladda’s case to his attention.
Chorladda’s husband is currently under detention for pouring acid on her face while she was sleeping.