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Diplomats demand inquiry over death of Thai envoy’s wife

The diplomatic community is up in arms over the death of Thitinart Satjipanon, spouse of Thai Ambassador Chaiyong Satjipanon, on Sept. 19 at Soonchunhyang University Hospital.

A letter sent by Uzbekistan Ambassador and Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, Vitali Fen to Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik and Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Kim Sung-hwan condemned, in the harshest of language and tone, the treatment of the Thai ambassador’s wife by the hospital.

“I would like to convey strong denunciation on behalf of the diplomatic corps for the treatment meted out to the ambassador’s spouse during her illness,” said the letter from Fen.

“According to my understanding, any international clinic should be equipped with English speaking staff,” said Fen. The hospital replied that they offer adequate English services.

“It appears that due to the negligence and delay of the hospital authorities, proper and timely medical aid was not provided to the patient causing her untimely death,” he wrote.

Fen said that “the negligence and delay of the hospital authorities, proper and timely medical aid was not provided to the patient causing her untimely death.”

Satjipanon was admitted with acute abdominal pain due to septic shock, embolism and intestinal obstruction, a condition that can cause death if not treated in time.

An autopsy in Thailand revealed that Satjipanon died of intestinal obstruction.

The incident has caused alarm among the diplomatic corps which has called into question the medical facilities provided by the hospital.

“The diplomatic corps is of the view that the medical standards adopted at the International Clinic of this hospital need to be reviewed and improved to make it more expat-friendly and adhering to international standards,” he said.

The ambassador is currently examining legal action. The police will be interviewing several doctors at Soonchunhyang University Hospital in Hannam-dong.

The hospital continues to maintain that there was no negligence or malpractice performed by their health care providers.

“There have been other such unfortunate incidents at this particular hospital which have resulted in wrong and undue treatments of patients from the diplomatic community,” adds the letter.

Fen requested an independent inquiry to be carried out with the information made public.

By Yoav Cerralbo (yoav@heraldcorp.com)
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