Corrections Department insists Netiporn got needed care before death


The Corrections Department insisted on Wednesday that activist Netiporn “Bung” Sanesangkhom had properly received treatment during her hunger strike until she passed out and died Tuesday.

Sompop Sangkhutkaew, an inspector at the department, held a press conference at 11am Wednesday to state that Corrections had properly cared for Netiporn since she was detained at the Central Women’s Correctional Institution in Bangkok’s Chatuchak district on January 26.

Sompop said the department would set up a committee to conduct a fact-finding probe into the death for the sake of transparency.
He said Netiporn started her hunger strike on January 26 so officials watched her condition closely.

“She was always taken to receive treatment at the Medical Correctional Institute when she became fatigued,” Sompop said.
He said Netiporn was admitted to the Medical Correctional Institute on February 29 for eight days to treat her weakness.

Corrections Department insists Netiporn got needed care before death

Sompop said Netiporn was passed on to be treated at Thammasat Hospital for 27 days from March 8 to April 4.

The hospital sent her back to be treated at the Medical Correctional Institute on April 4 after she started eating some food.

Sompop said Netiporn was treated inside a multiple-bed room and a friend, Tantawan "Tawan" Tuatulanon, was also treated in the same room.

Sompop said Netiporn had been conscious and did not suffer from a low blood-sugar level until Tuesday morning.

He said Netiporn passed out while talking to Tantawan at 6pm.
Medical personnel attempted resuscitation on her immediately and took her to the Thammasat Hospital. During the trip to the hospital, medical personnel in the ambulance kept on performing CPR on her. She was pronounced dead at Thammasat Hospital at 11.22 am, Sompop said.

“I hereby affirm that the Corrections Department respects human rights and basic rights of detainees. We closely monitor their conditions,” Sompop said.

Corrections Department insists Netiporn got needed care before death

Speaking at the same press conference, Dr Pongpak Ariyapinan, director of the Medical Correctional Institute, said the central prison hospital recorded Netiporn’s treatment details on a daily basis.

He said the recorded details included which kind of foods Netiporn started eating after she was sent back from Thammasat Hospital on April 4.

Pongpak said someone who started eating again after going hungry had to start with soft food, and the central prison hospital provided such foods for Netiporn three times a day.

Pongpak said Netiporn refused to take intravenous saline solution and any kind of mineral or blood booster medicine.

He insisted that medical personnel at the Medical Correctional Institute monitored detainees on hunger strike closely to estimate whether they needed to be sent to Thammasat Hospital or not.

There was also a team of psychologists who tried to persuade detainees to stop their hunger strike, Pongpak added.

He said his institute would wait for the autopsy results from Thammasat Hospital before concluding the cause of Netiporn’s death.

Meanwhile, Kritsadang Nutcharat, a human-rights lawyer, said he did not believe the statement from the Corrections Department that Netiporn had received treatment up to medical standards.

“I don’t believe the announcement. If the central prison hospital has such standards, it should let people from outside receive treatment there as well,” Kritsadang said.

He was speaking to reporters after he accompanied Netiporn’s sister to observe the postmortem at Thammasat Hospital for two hours on Wednesday.

Kritsadang said three doctors took part in the autopsy of the body to try to determine the cause of death.

He said the doctors also took samples of blood and tissues for testing in a laboratory of Ramathibodi Hospital and the preliminary results were expected Thursday.

The lawyer added that the doctors did not find foods left over in Netiporn’s stomach.