Hospital tries to calm foot injury storm

Hospital tries to calm foot injury storm

Bad treatment claims a 'misunderstanding'

Accident victim Burahan Taye, 36, of Pattani (inset), says 'slaughterhouse' Pattani Hospital gave him a splint and failed to diagnose the flesh-eating bacteria that could have cost him his leg. (Inset photo by Abdullah Benjakat)
Accident victim Burahan Taye, 36, of Pattani (inset), says 'slaughterhouse' Pattani Hospital gave him a splint and failed to diagnose the flesh-eating bacteria that could have cost him his leg. (Inset photo by Abdullah Benjakat)

Pattani Hospital has denied a patient's claim that he nearly lost a leg due to poor treatment, saying the accusation was a result of "miscommunication".

Hospital director Sakchai Tangchitwitthaya on Wednesday tried to diffuse a row with Burahan Taye who went for treatment on an ankle injury at the hospital early this month but later turned to a private hospital after discovering an infection had spread up to his shin.

Mr Burahan said he would rather pay expensive medical bills than return to Pattani Hospital where he said the treatment frightened him and made him feel his leg would "rot".

The 36-year-old said he wants the hospital to provide patients with a higher standard of treatment and "not become what villagers have branded it -- 'a slaughterhouse'."

His complaint, which has been shared on social media, prompted Dr Sakchai to quiz two doctors -- an orthopaedic doctor and a surgeon -- who treated Mr Burahan. However, he said they followed the correct procedures.

"I believe the problem resulted from miscommunication between the doctors and the patient," Dr Sakchai said. "We admit to this."

Mr Burahan's hurt his ankle in a motorcycle accident on May 1. He initially decided not to see a doctor because he viewed the injury as not serious.

However, he went to Pattani Hospital on May 5 after the wound turned red and his foot became swollen. The hospital is run directly by the Ministry of Public Health. Minister Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn had made no comment on the case by Thursday morning.

He said a doctor told him to wear a splint, but he took it off two days later because he could not stand the pain and was shocked to find the wound had become larger.

Mr Burahan said he returned to Pattani Hospital where he underwent surgery to remove dead tissue from around the wound. A nurse later told him he needed more surgery, which was when he decided to change hospitals.

"If I had received the right treatment at the beginning, my wound would not have become serious," Mr Burahan said.

Dr Sakchai said he found no irregularities with the initial treatment. Medical staff only used a "slab", or soft splint, to prevent the ankle from moving. They did put the leg in a cast.

However, Dr Sakchai said, Mr Burahan's injury became complicated because doctors later discovered he had necrotising fasciitis, or a bacterial flesh-eating disease, which required immediate surgery to stop its spread.

He said Mr Burahan did not wait for this explanation and went to another hospital instead. This case shows the need to improve communication between hospital staff and patients to avoid a recurrence, Dr Sakchai said.

The hospital has forwarded Mr Burahan's case to the Public Health Ministry to request that it help Mr Burahan. Hospital staff have also visited him to discuss ways it can help him.

Mr Burahan is a low-income earner, but had to pay 460,000 baht for his treatment and an eight-day stay at the private hospital.

Relatives had to mortgage land in order to find the money to pay for the medical bills, Mr Burahan said.

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