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Thai envoy hits out at hospital where wife died

Thai Ambassador Chaiyong Satjipanon has claimed that mistakes made by a hospital known for treating expats and diplomats contributed to the death of his wife. Thitinart Satjipanon died Monday after a heart attack put her in a coma for two days.

She was admitted to Soon Chun Hyang University Hospital on Sept. 16 with acute abdominal pain.

A hospital spokesperson said she was treated by doctors at the hospital with the utmost care.

The next day, an eyewitness who wished to remain anonymous said she felt fine and was sent to radiology for a check-up before she was to be discharged.

But the eyewitness said Satjipanon started to feel ill during the X-ray procedure. The radiology technician tried several times to help her stand so that X-rays could be taken of her abdominal area but to no avail.

After several failed attempts, the radiology technician informed the husband and his assistant that they should go back to Satjipanon’s room on the sixth floor of an adjacent building.

Before being moved, Satjipanon told her husband that she was feeling worse and needed medical attention.

The eyewitness said that they tried three times to get help from the hospital. First from the information desk just a few meters away, whose staff informed them that they should talk to the radiology technician.

The technician then called for help, the eyewitness said.

After no help came 12 minutes later, the family requested further assistance and decided to go back to their room.

Satjipanon went into cardiac arrest while in her room and was admitted to an intensive care unit where she spent the following two days in a coma.

A hospital spokesperson said that her death did not involve any malpractice and that every measure was taken to ensure her recovery.

Her death was sudden and she died of an embolism, he said.

The day after her death, all records were sealed and several meetings took place behind closed doors to examine the case but no negligence or malpractice was found, according to the hospital.

However, the Thai ambassador claims that mistakes were made.

The X-ray room is just 3 meters away from the emergency room, but the X-ray technician did not cross the hall to the emergency room for assistance.

The spokesperson for the hospital explained that the X-ray technician thought it was not needed because Satjipanon was coherent and talking to her husband.

Satjipanon suffered from pre-existing medical conditions, one of which could have contributed to her sudden cardiac arrest.

The hospital’s president visited the ambassador to express his condolences but did not apologize.

Both sides are preparing for legal action.

A funeral was held yesterday, before the family transported the body for burial in Thailand.

By Yoav Cerralbo (yoav@heraldcorp.com)
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