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Phuket hospital denies refusing treatment to Brit tourist hit-and-run victim

PHUKET: Phuket International Hospital has denied allegations that it refused to provide treatment to British tourist Jacob Tonkin after he was involved in a hit-and-run collision with a van in Phuket because his insurance company refused to cover medical expenses.

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The Phuket News

Friday 12 May 2017, 06:39PM


The news broke after Mr Tonkin’s mother, Jane, 62, told the Manchester Evening News that her son was “left for dead” in Thailand and that the hospital concerned refused treatment until payment was guaranteed.

The news went viral after the UK’s Daily Mail also ran the story. (See story here.)

Jake Tonkin remains in a critical condition in hospital in Phuket following a collision last Sunday night (May 7), Ms Tonkin reported.

The 23-year-old had been riding pillion on a friend’s motorcycle when a van came around the corner on the wrong side of the road and hit them. Both were thrown from the bike, with Jake landing underneath the wheels of the vehicle as it fled the scene.

The Crowdfunding appeal set up for Mr Tonkin reports, “His friend who was driving the motorcycle, approached Jake and attempted mouth to mouth resuscitation but as he was in a state of distress and panic was not doing this correctly.

“A Russian woman heard the accident and came and took over carrying out the resuscitation correctly – she called the ambulance and basically saved his life.”

The insurance company Insureandgo said they would not pay even though they were “genuinely sorry” to hear about the accident which was Jake’s second on a bike in less than three weeks.

An InsureAndGo spokeswoman told the Daily Mirror: “Sometimes our customers find themselves in situations that make the headlines back home.

“Sometimes these stories are accurate and sometimes they’re missing pertinent facts.

“At InsureandGo, we take customer privacy very seriously, and that means unless a customer gives us direct permission to speak to the media, or anyone else, regarding their claim, we can’t comment on their case – no matter what’s being said.

British International School, Phuket

“What we can say is that we never like hearing that something bad has happened to one of our customers on a trip; no matter how many claims we handle, the news of an accident or an ailment still upsets the team involved.”

In response to the allegations, Dr Dhun Damrongsak, Deputy CEO Group 6 and Hospital Director, issued a statement to the public yesterday (May 11).

Dr Dhun explained: “The patient was brought to our hospital on May 8th with injuries sustained from a traffic accident. He had suffered abrasion wounds to his left arm and deformity to the right femur. In the emergency room, the patient’s condition was assessed and he received a full range of medical tests, including CT scan, radiology and laboratory examinations. The patient was then treated for the initial diagnoses of a fractured right femur and head injury.

“A neurosurgeon and an orthopedic surgeon were consulted and recommended that there was no indication for surgery for the head injury but that surgery to treat the fractured femur was required. The patient was then admitted to our ICU where his head injury was observed until the neuro-signs were assessed to be stable and the orthopedic surgeon could proceed with surgery to correct the fractured femur.

“The patient was in surgery for 1 hour and 20 minutes after which he was transferred back to the ICU to continue the observation of his neuro-signs. The patient’s condition continued to improve after receiving treatment and when his condition was assessed to be stable after 3 days, he was transferred to a normal ward for recovery and further observation of the head injury.

“The patient is still unable to self-ambulate and is still suffering from minor headaches. While the neurological signs were being observed, the hospital contacted the patient’s travel insurance to request confirmation of coverage but we were advised that the case was still under review. Once the neurological condition of the patient was assessed to be stable for surgery, the hospital proceeded without any financial confirmation.

“The hospital confirms that provision of treatment to this patient was never refused or delayed. Normal and standard medical treatment and support were provided as according to our hospital policy and we are happy to advise that the patient’s condition is stable and improving day by day.

“Siriroj International Hospital would like to emphasize that patient safety and the standards of our medical care are our utmost priority, above and before the financial status of patient.”

A Crowdfunding appeal has been launched to cover Mr Tonkin’s rising medical costs. At this stage the website has raised more than £22,000 of the £25,000 (B981,000) asked for.

To make a donation, click here.

 

 

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malczx7r | 13 May 2017 - 13:55:06

Captain Jack, i could be wrong but i think the 72hr rule was for Thais only??
Also you are right about the insurance for motorcycles, i commented this on another post, rental companies should be forced to make checks that the person renting the bike has a valid licence but of course as per everything here, no-one would follow any rules and RTP would never arrest the rental company!

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Kurt | 13 May 2017 - 12:31:54

@ CaptainJack69:  Are you talking about thai insurance companies or foreign companies?
I do know European insurance companies issue holiday insurances including motorbike riding.
Sometimes you have to pay a small additional premium part for motorbike riding and winter sports ( skiing)

I myself have a worldwide ( except usa) international health & accident insurance, it covers my motorbike accidents in Thailand ( as long I was not under influence of alcohol and drugs).
My insurance also goes law wise 'after' the third party if the accident is his/her fault, and claims the expenses back.

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PhuketSam | 13 May 2017 - 10:20:12

"In the emergency room, the patient’s condition was assessed and he received a full range of medical tests, including CT scan, radiology and laboratory examinations. The patient was then treated for the initial diagnoses of a fractured right femur and head injury."
I recently went into hospital with an infection that required surgery. Being delirious with fever I was subjected to all of these tests, most of which were not needed. The costs of the tests were over 100,000 Baht whilst the surgery and two week hospital stay were only 40,000 Baht. When I returned for skin grafts they, again, tried to run me through all of these scans. The skin grafts and one week hospital stay were 40.000 Baht. In both visits I was told that I would not be treated without paying a 50,000 Baht deposit.

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Sam hayman | 13 May 2017 - 06:16:40

A Van came around the corner on the wrong side of the road.!!

Something that happens many times a day in Phuket because the most they risk is a BAHT 400 fine.

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CaptainJack69 | 12 May 2017 - 23:51:55

@KURT:  99% of travel insurance policies specifically exclude coverage for injuries incurred while riding a motorbike.

I'm not at all surprised that the insurance company is not paying out, nor that they wont talk about it (pretending to care about their customers, yeah right).

I'm also not surprised that a rag like The Daily Mirror is trying to sensationalize the story. No one with a brain reads that trash.

What's interesting here is whether or not the hospital met their recently introduced obligation to cover all costs relating to the treatment of emergency cases for the first 72 hours.  And it's not clear that they did, since the crowd sourcing campaign is looking for so much money.  The hospital have made it clear that treatment was not withheld, but has the patient been charged for the first 72 hours?

The Phuket News

Kurt | 12 May 2017 - 19:13:40

Can we first talk about the beginning of everything?
A Van came around the corner of the wrong side of the road.!!!
So, is the Van driver, cq the Van company not responsible of any medical follow up?

In this framework of thinking I do not understand crowdfunding!
Why is the thai Van driver or thai Van company not forced to take care of medical costs?

What is not going the normal way here? Unbelieveble.
Foreigners, first lesson while visiting Thailand.
Make sure you are well insured.

Foreigners on holiday, never trust thai, make sure you touch down in Thailand with a 100% good insurance.
For thai you are just a foreigner, the idea is to make money out of you, not pay money for you.

Basic thai thinking, that way it is. 
Keep it in mind! Come with a 100% medical coverage!

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