An investigation is being launched into whether a private hospital broke medical ethics by allegedly turning away a woman in labour, forcing her to give birth at home, which led to her baby dying. Key question: Was this an emergency?
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Hospital to face probe over home birth fatality
The Public Health Ministry will launch an investigation into whether a private hospital broke medical ethics by allegedly turning away a pregnant woman who was in labour, forcing her to give birth at home, which led to her baby dying.
The probe will be conducted by the Department of Health Service Support (HSS), Public Health Ministry deputy permanent secretary Vachira Pengchan said yesterday.
The investigation would be carried out even though the Social Security Office confirmed the woman's healthcare benefits did not cover childbirth.
"The investigation will focus on whether the case was an emergency [that the hospital had to admit] and if the hospital strictly followed the ministry's guidelines on emergency cases in providing treatment or referring the patient," he said.
The mother, 31-year-old Chonthicha Wannathip, was found in an exhausted state by neighbours at her home in Inthamara Soi 1 in Phaya Thai district on Sunday afternoon.
Her baby was dead beside her.
That morning, Ms Chonthicha went to a private hospital in Phaya Thai district to be admitted for treatment for labour pains, according to a police investigation.
But the hospital staff told her that her social security benefits did not cover delivery of a baby.
She was told that the service fee was 15,000-18,000 baht.
Ms Chonthicha told police that she could not afford the fee so she decided to return home. She later gave birth on her own, resulting in her baby's death.
After she was found by neighbours, police were called to help and she was sent to state-run Rajavithi Hospital near the Victory Monument.
Media reports said Rajavithi Hospital declined to admit her, so she went to Ramathibodi Hospital.
Rajavithi Hospital director Udom Chaovarindr brushed aside claims the hospital had turned her away.
The doctor claimed police took Ms Chonthicha and her baby's body to Rajavithi and asked the hospital to conduct an autopsy on the body and examine Ms Chonthicha. He said the police wanted to determine if the baby's death was suspicious.
However, since Rajavithi Hospital did not have a forensic doctor to perform an autopsy, it recommended the pair be sent to Ramathibodi Hospital instead.
"We did not reject the patient. We were at the receiving end in this incident," Dr Udom said.
Meanwhile, Social Security Office deputy secretary-general Suradej Waleeittikul said that, according to a preliminary check, Ms Chonthicha had contributed to the Social Security Fund for only four months.
A mother seeking benefits for the delivery of a baby must contribute for at least seven months.
However, he said, in the case of emergencies, patients could be admitted to any hospital.
"I think the problem was miscommunication," Mr Suradej said.
HSS deputy director-general Tares Krassanairawiwong said the investigators would check Ms Chonthicha's medical records to determine if hers was an emergency case.
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admit: to put someone into hospital for medical treatment - เปิดรับ
afford: to have enough money to be able to pay for something - มีเงิน/ทุนพอ
allegedly: claimed to have done something wrong, but not yet proven - ที่ถูกกล่าวหา
autopsy: a medical examination of a dead person’s body to find out why they died - การชันสูตรศพ
benefit: money provided by the government to people who need financial help because they are unemployed, ill/sick, etc - เงินสงเคราะห์
brush aside: to refuse to accept that something is true - ไม่เชื่อ, ไม่ยอมรับ
claim: saying that something is true although it has not been proved and other people may not believe it - ข้ออ้าง ข้อกล่าวหา
conduct: to do something in an organised way; to carry out — - ลงมือทำ, ดำเนิน, ปฏิบัติ
contribute: to make a regular payment -
decline: to say politely that you will not accept something or do something - ปฏิเสธ
delivery: a birth - การคลอดลูก
deputy: a person whose rank is immediately below that of the leader of an organisation - รอง
determine: to discover something by examining evidence to or calculate something - กำหนด, ระบุ, แสดงผล
emergency: an unexpected situation involving danger in which immediate action is necessary - เหตุฉุกเฉิน
ethics: a set of principles people use to decide what is right and what is wrong - จริยธรรม
exhausted: extremely tired - เหน็ดเหนื่อย
fatality: a death caused by an illness, accident, crime or war - การเสียชีวิต
fee: an amount of money that you pay to be allowed to do something - ค่าธรรมเนียม
forensic: relating to the use of scientific methods to solve crimes or to find out why something happened - เกี่ยวกับนิติวิทยาศาสตร์
fund: money provided for something - เงินทุน กองทุน
give birth: to produce a baby or young animal - คลอดลูก
guidelines: official instructions or advice about how to do something - สิ่งที่ช่วยแนะแนวทางให้ปฏิบัติ
incident: something that happens, usually something bad - เหตุการณ์
investigation: the process of trying to find out all the details or facts about something in order to discover who or what caused it or how it happened - การสอบสวน, การตรวจสอบหาข้อเท็จจริง
labour: the period of time or the process of giving birth to a baby - กระบวนการในการคลอดบุตร (โดยเฉพาะการหดตัวของกล้ามเนื้อ)
launch: to start something - เริ่มต้น, เปิดโครงการ, เริ่มทำ
meanwhile: at the same time - ในเวลาเดียวกัน
media: radio, television, newspaper, the Internet, considered as a group - สื่อ
miscommunication: failure to communicate ideas or intentions successfully -
monument: a statue or building that is built to honour a special person or event - อนุสาวรีย์ หรืออนุสรณ์สถาน
neighbour: someone who lives near you, - เพื่อนบ้าน
pair: two people who are doing something together - คู่
patient: someone who is receiving medical treatment - คนป่วย, คนไข้
permanent secretary: a government official, not a political appointee, in charge of a ministry - ปลัดกระทรวง
pregnant: having a baby developing inside the body - ท้อง ตั้งครรภ์
preliminary: early; not final - ขั้นต้น, ขั้นแรก, เบื้องต้น, ชั้นต้น
private: involving groups, businesses or industries that are not owned or controlled by the government - เอกชน
probe: an attempt to find out the truth about an issue, problem or accident, made by an official group (or by the media); an investigation - การตรวจสอบ การสอบสวน
recommend: to advise someone that they should do something - แนะนำ
refer: to send somebody/something to somebody/something for help, advice or a decision - ส่งถึง
reject: to not accept something - ปฏิเสธ ไม่ยอมรับ
social security: money that the government pays regularly to people who are poor, unemployed, sick, etc - สวัสดิการสังคม,ระบบการประกันสังคม
state: condition - สภาพ
state: government - รัฐบาล
strictly: completely - อย่างเข้มงวด
suspicious: making you believe that something is wrong, dangerous or illegal - น่าสงสัย
treatment: the process of providing medical care - การรักษา
turn away: to refuse to allow somebody to enter a place - ปฏิเสธที่จะอนุญาตให้เข้าไปในสถานที่
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