Clinic charged over 'herbal burning' injury

Clinic charged over 'herbal burning' injury

Internet influencer seriously burned during free treatment

The Department of Health Service Support (DHSS) has pressed charges against the operator of a multi-discipline clinic after an internet influencer suffered third-degree burns during herbal burning therapy.

The DHSS is also asking the traditional medical profession council to look into the professional standards of the practitioner, director-general Sura Wisetsak said on Tuesday.

Touted as a way of improving blood circulation and relieving indigestion, the treatment involved heating up herbs on the woman’s abdomen using flaming alcohol.

Health officials inspected the clinic on Monday. It offers a range of medical services including traditional Thai and Chinese treatments.

The operator was charged with running a healthcare facility without a licensed practitioner on duty, and  advertising medical services without permission, Dr Sura said.

The first offence carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison and/or fine of 40,000 baht. The second carries a fine of up to 20,000 baht, he said.

The clinic is located in a shopping mall in Bang Khen district of Bangkok, he said. He did not give its name.

It was also ordered to ensure it fully complies with the law regulating healthcare facilities within 15 days, or be shut down until it does, he said.

The case came to light when whistleblower Guntouch Pongpaiboonwet, alias Gun Jompalang, helped the injured woman lodge a formal complaint with the Ministry of Public Health.

The incident happened a year ago and the woman said she had not received any compensation.

“While the clinic operator and the practitioner kept pointing an accusing finger at each other, I had to pay out of my own pocket more than 300,000 baht for medical bills,” she said.

“Now that the doctor is abroad, the clinic operator simply ignores me.”

Last year’s incident was recorded on video as the woman agreed to free treatment in exchange for reviewing it for her internet followers. 

The complainant said the video shows the practitioner running away as the flames spread over her body, leaving her, her boyfriend and a clinic assistant struggling to extinguish the fire.

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