Health ministry ordered to pay B2.7m compo to paralysed boy

Health ministry ordered to pay B2.7m compo to paralysed boy

Pongkorn, or Prabpram
Pongkorn, or Prabpram "Nong Palm", Jermkhunthod, now 5 years and 5 months old, was left paralysed after a hospital vehicle hit his parents' motorcycle when he was less than a year-old in 2015. The Supreme Court's award against the Health Ministry ends their long battle for compensation. (Photo by Chakkrapan Nathanri)

KHON KAEN: The Supreme Court has ordered the Public Health Ministry to pay 2.7 million baht to the family of a baby boy left paralysed after his parents' motorcycle was hit by a hospital vehicle five years ago.

The ruling was read out at the Chum Phae provincial court in Khon Kaen on Thursday.

The boy's parents filed a civil suit against the ministry and the office of the health permanent secretary, seeking compensation.

Pongkorn, or Prabpram  “Nong Palm’’, Jermkhunthod, now aged 5 years and 5 months, was with his mother on a motorcycle driven by his father that was hit by a pickup truck from Ban Mai health promotion hospital in Khon Kaen’s Si Chom Phu district on July 28, 2015.

The boy's injuries left him paralysed -- numb from the chest down to his legs. He is still unable to walk and has no control over his bladder and bowels. 

The Supreme Court ordered the defendants to pay 2,730,500 baht in compensation to the boy's family.

Speaking after ruling, the boy's father, Sarawut Jermkhunthod, said his family had fought for justice for their son but everything had moved at a snail’s pace, even though the ministry had a budget to pay compensation.

The crash occurred in 2015. His son was now 5 years and 5 months old, Mr Sarawut said.

Over the years, talks had been held on the amount of compensation on several occasions, but no conclusion had been reached, he said.  

The Appeal Court earlier ordered the ministry and secretary's office to pay 2,834,800 baht in compensation plus interest of  7.5% per year, starting from July 28, 2015, the day the crash occurred.  

However, the ministry had still not finalised the amount to be paid when the case reached the Supreme Court, Mr Sarawut said.

The court reduced the amount of compensation by 104,300 baht. This amount was earlier paid to the family by the driver of the hospital vehicle, he said.

His family was satisfied with the court’s ruling, Mr Sarawut said.

“We struggled hard fighting for compensation through the courts. We had to leave our jobs, sell some land and borrow money to take care of our son after he was paralysed by the crash.

"We will deposit the compensation money in a bank account for medical treatment for our son.

"Curently, we earn our living selling goods from home. Part of the money will be used to repay our debts,’’  said Mr Sarawut.

In October last year the boy's mother, Paweena Hasap, 30, turned to the Justice Ministry  seeking help from the Justice Fund to cover court costs.

The lower court earlier sentenced Ket Nathomthong, 68, the driver of the hospital vehicle, to six months in prison and a fine of 3,000 baht, but the jail term was suspended for two years.

The family of the boy initially filed a civil suit seeking about 10 million baht in compensation from the ministry and the office of the permanent secretary. During several rounds of unfinished talks the ministry kept lowering the amount to be paid, a source said.

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