Illegal foreign doctors are bad medicine: Authorities warn

Illegal foreign doctors are bad medicine: Authorities warn

Doctors from the Health Care Department of the Ministry of Health have warned the public not to seek the services of foreign doctors who only provide treatment via house calls instead of working in official hospitals, clinics or healthcare centres.

The warning was issued after some Thai doctors provided medical treatment in Hadxaifong district last week. Deputy Director General of Health Care Department, Dr Phisith Phoutsavath told Vientiane Times that he received the information from numerous people who called the department last week. "Providing service in this way could be in conflict with the law on healthcare or it could be totally illegal," he said.

Even though the law on healthcare mentions that people have the right to choose the place for their treatment, this place should be certified by the Ministry of Health.

Dr Phisith said this was not the first time foreign doctors had provided treatment without permission from the involved sector.

In the past, officials from the Health Care Department joined together with Vientiane Health Department to encourage Chinese dentists to submit proposals for service in Laos after authorities conducted surveys of dental services from village to village.

Any company or individual who wants to run a hospital or clinic in the capital should submit the proposal to the Health Care Department or Vientiane Health for consideration.

Ms Ban (not her real name), a resident of Hadxaifong district, said that she had received treatment for her backache from Thai doctors for four days. She paid 50,000 kip (S$8) per injection on each occasion.

"My condition was better after receiving the shot in the morning. However, I had the pain again in the evening," she said.

Vientiane Health Department Deputy Director, Dr Phonepaseuth Ounaphom, said people who received medical therapy from illegal doctors could be risking their health as you may not know the doctors' qualifications and whether they've graduated from a medical school or not. It means that patients may be receiving treatment from a bogus doctor.

In addition, Dr Phonepaseuth pointed out that patients would not be able to ask for compensation in the case of misdiagnosis by these doctors. This was because they may leave the country without taking responsibility if the patient's condition got worse.

"In addition, receiving pain relief medication for a long time could damage the kidneys of a patient," he said.

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