Dr Weerasak, joined by a team of doctors and nurses, held a press conference at Vachira Phuket Hospital this morning to respond to claims, with evidence, that a 15-day old newborn had suffered a broken left arm while in hospital care.
Dr Weerasak did not recognise the parents claim that the broken arm was not noticed until the parents arrived to visit their new daughter on Monday (June 6).
The press conference was announced only after the parents filed a complaint with Phuket City Police yesterday, as previous requests for an explanation were ignored.
Dr Weerasak this morning repeated all the same details the parents gave to police, that the child was born at the hospital on May 23 and was kept in care for what he called “oxygen depletion”. The newborn had amniotic fluid in the lungs.
Dr Weerasak publicly named the parents as Ms Atchara Chantrat and Mr Chakkrit Nimnoo, despite the parents yesterday asking for their names to be withheld.
The baby was weighed at 9pm on Sunday (June 5). Staff noticed that the baby had no difficulty in moving both arms, Dr Weerasak said.
The baby’s vital signs were recorded at 10pm, at which time staff noticed that the baby had wriggled while its arms, torso and legs were swaddled separately. So the staff changed the swaddle to a single cloth wrap, he said.
At this time, the baby was fed and its vital signs were recorded without assessing movement, he added.
The baby was asleep at 6am Monday when staff arrived to record its vital signs and feed her. This was done again without assessing movement, he continued.
At 9am Monday staff bathed the baby. This was when it was noticed the baby was unable to move her left arm, which was in a stretched-out position, he said.
The arm was twisted close to the body, therefore a pediatrician was consulted for evaluation and physical examination, Dr Weerasak said.
No bruises or wounds on the skin were found anywhere on the body, he noted.
An x-ray was taken of the arm, confirming that the humerus (upper arm) was broken, he said.
“Initially, it was concluded that because no traces of bruises or external wounds were found, it was therefore assumed that what caused the broken bone in the baby’s left arm came from being wrapped,” Dr Weerasak said.
“Especially the way the arm had twisted and turned against the body, which tended towards the back, placing pressure on the elbow when lifting and placing the baby in accordance with treatment guidelines,” he said.
“Orthopedic surgeons have given treatment in a way that makes the baby as comfortable as possible. The doctor is using a bandage to hold the broken arm against the baby’s torso for two to three weeks without the need for a splint or surgery because the baby’s bones will mend to each other. Follow-up appointments will be made after the baby is discharged from the hospital,” Dr Weerasak said.
“Myself and Vachira Phuket Hospital offer our sympathies and apologise for the incident. The hospital conducted a preliminary review of the incident and will set up a committee to investigate the facts to develop a quality care system and ensure patient safety,” Dr Weerasak said.
Mr Chakkrit, the newborn’s father, was not satisfied with the explanation given today.
“I’m still not sure whether we are talking about the same thing. He spoke a lot about what the next treatment will do, but the reason [for the broken arm] he still can’t answer,” Mr Chakkrit said.
“He said they must check first,” he added.
Mr Chakkrit said he felt discouraged by the press conference today.
“We asked, and he couldn’t answer at all. I will wait to see how he can help. I want to ask is this how people want them to treat your child? Mr Chakkrit said.