Thai hospital clarifies on 'abandoned' amputee

After news that went viral of an amputee patient being reportedly abandoned at a Bangkok police station on Wednesday, Paolo Memorial Hospital yesterday insisted that it had treated the patient in accordance with professional standards but the man was "aggressive".

The hospital claimed it had surveillance footage to back up its claim.

Hospital executive Dr Weeraya Paocharoen told a press conference that Mana Kulthamsathit, 54, had received treatment at the hospital for diabetes, high blood pressure, and ischaemic heart disease, |under the Social Security Office (SSO) coverage.

As the wounds on his left leg were aggravated by his diabetic condition, the doctor amputated a section from halfway down the shin on January 28, after which he remained at the hospital for recovery.

Weeraya said the medical team on Monday informed Mana that he could go home the next day and that he should meet the doctor again today to remove his stitches.

Upon hearing he would be released, Mana reportedly got angry and told nurses that his wound had not healed yet. On the day of his release, he reportedly threw things, removed the bandage, and started shouting loudly, so doctors separated him from other patients, Weeraya said.

However, on Wednesday, Mana told hospital staff he wanted to go home but became upset, so staff called in the police to maintain calm, he said.

Mana was sent to the Bang Sue Police Station by hospital staff and police, but the news went viral, implying the patient had been abandoned, which was untrue, Weeraya said.

He added that the hospital would not file a police complaint against Mana, as there was no damage to the hospital.

'Aggravated diabetes'

Mana told media at the police station that he suffered from aggravated diabetes, which forced him to sell his Nonthaburi condo unit and seek treatment at the hospital, where he underwent a leg amputation in January and remained there for two months.

On Tuesday, he said he wished to remain in the hospital until the wound healed, but had an argument with staff.

The following day, he was brought to the police station.

"How can they do this? My wound hasn't healed yet, my SSO membership is valid, but they left me at the precinct like this.

"Is this appropriate?" he lamented.

Bang Sue superintendent Pol Colonel Suriya Nakkaew said hospital authorities informed police that they could not negotiate with the man after his release so they sent him to the precinct.

Police later located a friend of Mana who agreed to take him away.

Suriya said that if the man could not find accommodation, police could contact a home for the elderly to assist him.