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Phuket hospital chief responds to formal complaint over virus-protection measures

Phuket hospital chief responds to formal complaint over virus-protection measures

PHUKET: Vachira Phuket Hospital Director Dr Chalermpong Sukontapol yesterday (Mar 3) took reporters on a tour of the facilities at the hospital in response to a formal complaint accusing the hospital director of not taking appropriate measures to counter the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

healthCOVID-19Coronavirus
By The Phuket News

Wednesday 4 March 2020, 11:34AM


Vachira Phuket Hospital Director Dr Chalermpong Sukontapol yesterday (Mar 3) escorted the press to one isolation room in particular, and even opened the door so the press could see the patient inside for themselves. Photo: Tanyaluk Sakoot

Vachira Phuket Hospital Director Dr Chalermpong Sukontapol yesterday (Mar 3) escorted the press to one isolation room in particular, and even opened the door so the press could see the patient inside for themselves. Photo: Tanyaluk Sakoot

The complaint was filed by two doctors, including one who works at the hospital.

Dr Chalermpong yesterday explained that the complaint was reported by the Thai-language Facebook page “The Reporters” on Monday. (See post here.)

The post said the complaint was filed with Phuket City Police on Sunday, a fact confirmed to The Phuket News by Phuket City Police Chief Col Teerawat Liamsuwan.

Col Teerawat declined to confirm any other details of the complaint, including the name of the doctors who filed the complaint. He also declined to present to The Phuket News a copy of the complaint.

However, Col Teerawat did volunteer, “This case also has been reported to the National Anti-Corruption Commission [NACC].”

At the press tour yesterday, Dr Chalermpong read out the complaint as posted on The Reporters Facebook page, which said that a doctor at the hospital had already filed a complaint to the Director and Deputy Director of Vachira Phuket Hospital.

“The way they are working risks harm to the public. Also the way are working is inappropriate,” the complaint said.

“The director and deputy director doctor of Vachira Phuket Hospital are not taking appropriate steps to prevent an outbreak of COVID-19,” the complaint read.

The complaint also alleged that the measures being taken at the hospital were more aimed at preserving the careers of certain people at the hospital, not for public safety.

“This risks harm to the public and it is unfair to the people,” the complaint said.

The complaint listed six main points, including that patients suspected of being infected with the virus were not kept in isolation.

“These patients must have a separate room in the ICU at a private hospital. Currently they use shared rooms in various parts of the hospital that uses the same air conditioning as the rest of the hospital,” the complaint read.

The complaint also claimed that staff at the hospital were not adequately protected. “There are no tests to check whether the staff are infected with COVID-19 in order to prevent the spread of the disease at the hospital. This is important in preventing the spread of serious contagious diseases in any community,” it added.

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The complaint also called for patients suspected of being infected to be kept at just one hospital, not spread out in many hospitals across Phuket.

The complaint was sent to Phuket Governor Phakaphong Tavipatana last week but there had been no response, the complaint noted.

On Monday (Mar 2), a copy of the same complaint was sent to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, and to Ministry of Public Health Permanent Secretary Dr Kanchana Sutthakitparn, the complaint noted.

Dr Chalermpong yesterday told reporters that patients were kept in separate, isolated rooms. He escorted the press to one room in particular, and even opened the door so the press could see the patient inside for themselves.

He also confirmed that one of the doctors who filed the complaint does work at Vachira Phuket Hospital.

He declined to reveal where the other doctor worked.

“Vachira Phuket Hospital is well-equipped for treatment by experts. We have enough rooms. We also have the ability to take care more severe symptoms. Currently, all three hospitals [in Phuket] help each other in receiving PUI [patient under isolation] cases and we are still managing well,” Dr Chalermpong said.

“If the number PUI cases becomes serious at any particular hospital, the patient will be transferred to Vachira Phuket Hospital,” he added.

Dr Chalermpong also assured that staff at the hospital were adequately protected.

“I confirm that we have enough protective equipment for medical stuff through support from the Smart Health Service under Ministry of Health office in Surat Thani province,” he said.

Quarantine areas at Phuket’s main government hospitals will be expanded, Dr Chalermpong added.

“We have plan to expand quarantine wards at the Thalang, Patong and Phuket Provincial Hospital, and at the Phuket Provincial Community Hall, altogether accounting for about 277 beds,” he said.

Dr Chalermpong yesterday specifically declined to answer questions from the press as to whether any persons in Phuket had ever been confirmed as infected with COVID-19.

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Jor12 | 06 March 2020 - 12:09:35

k...is the patient identified? At least try to make out you have some clue. So in America with more than 200 confirmed cases and a population of some 327 million
 is also false according to you, as is the world wide figures of more than 98,000 cases and more than 3,300 deaths or is everyone corrupt?

Kurt | 06 March 2020 - 09:16:50

@ Jor12, Can you explain  about patient confidentiality after seeing the hospital director opens (!) a 'isolation room' to show a patient to press? The whole scene not looks professional.

Kurt | 06 March 2020 - 08:55:45

'Official reports'?   Not take it with a grain of salt, but with a full spoon. Who believes the 43 cases only in a country with about 67 million people + tourists?

Kurt | 06 March 2020 - 08:50:14

...This case has been also reported to the National Anti-Corruption Commission....according RTP. Is there hospital corruption playing a role in all this?

Jor12 | 05 March 2020 - 14:22:55

Papa paul... Official reports to date indicate."Thailand has reported 43 confirmed infections and one fatality linked to the virus." If you have information of unreported cases it is strongly suggested you contact authorities unless of course you are one of the idiots spreading false news.

Papa paul | 05 March 2020 - 08:39:16

Its all been said before.  Numerous cases not reported to the public for their safety. Hierarchy coverups for the sake of the almighty Bht.
Subject locals and tourists alike to danger. They will be having no luck on judgement day.

Kurt | 05 March 2020 - 08:38:37

It seems that the formal complaint by 2 doctors is right.  No response from Governor? Of course not, doesn't want to burn his hands on it. And why refusing answer or there are COVID-19 patients on Phuket? For reason to keep foreign tourists coming to Phuket?

Foot | 04 March 2020 - 14:48:56

Quarantine rooms that share air con and ventilation with non-quarantine rooms and "...even opened the door so the press could see the patient inside for themselves..."
Well, we all should feel better now with this high level of expertise.
So sad.

Jor12 | 04 March 2020 - 14:39:39

Clearly you are not aware of patient confidentiality. Then again, given the basic level of your comments you are not aware of many things.

johnmc17 | 04 March 2020 - 14:31:30

He is opening an isolation room door with no gloves, and as COVID 19 is airborne he should only be opening it to enter not to show press. Very poor practice from a medical co Ordinator. Nut it doesn't surprise me 

Rorri_2 | 04 March 2020 - 12:47:54

"Dr  Chalermpong yesterday specifically declined to answer questions from the press as to whether any persons in Phuket had ever been confirmed as infected with COVID-19," and why no answer, what is he hiding. As, if in isolation, why not in a reduced pressure room, with hepa filters.

 

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