Another plastic surgery patient dies in Thailand

Dr Sompop Sansiri and his plastic-surgery clinic have run into serious legal trouble after a British woman died during hip surgery late on Thursday.

Plastic surgery in Thailand has made the headlines again, this time because of the death of a British customer - a 24-year-old woman who died while undergoing hip surgery in Bangkok's Huai Khwang district late on Thursday.

The clinic was immediately slapped with a 60-day closure order, while the two doctors involved in the fatal procedure are subject to investigations by both police and the Public Health Ministry.

SP Clinic owner Dr Sompop Sansiri, who performed the surgery, is charged with recklessness leading to the death of a person.

If convicted, he will face up to 10 years in jail and/or a fine of up to Bt20,000 (S$788).

Sompop is also set to face several other charges related to the case. He was found to have been performing the surgery beyond authorised hours. His clinic was supposed to close by 8pm, but the death reportedly took place at around 11.30pm.

The body of the victim was also found to have been moved from the second floor of the clinic to the first floor, something that could violate legal clauses governing the clinic's operation, according to police.

In addition, Sompop is in fact a licensed general-practice doctor and has no licence to perform plastic surgery.

In performing the surgery without a licence, he risks up to three years in jail and/or a fine of up to Bt60,000.

His clinic was allowed to operate because it had been able to produce the licence of Dr Narongdej Jiarapeepan, a surgeon.

However, given that Narongdej did not perform the surgery on Thursday, he will likely face charges of allowing another person to perform surgery at premises authorised by his licence.

Sompop has reportedly so far denied any wrongdoing, insisting that he proceeded in line with proper surgical procedures.

At this point, it remains unclear why the Briton died during the surgery.

It was not her first time at the clinic, as she had also undergone surgery there on October 14.

Her body was taken to Police General Hospital for an autopsy, as the authorities seek to determine the exact cause of death.

The court has approved Sompop's bail request and released him on a Bt200,000 guarantee.

Health Service Support Department director-general Dr Boonrueang Trairueangworawat said the doctors involved in the case had clearly violated the Medical Facilities Act. "We will forward the case to the Medical Council of Thailand for further action," he said.

Last month, an event product presenter also succumbed during plastic surgery at another clinic, reportedly because of an allergic reaction to the anaesthetic.