Both a 37-year-old woman and her unborn child died in the hospital because her family was unable to pay for her surgery fee
17 March 2009
By Sophal Mony
Radio Free Asia
Translated from Khmer by Socheata
Both a 37-year-old woman and her unborn child died in the hospital because her family was unable to pay for her surgery fee.
The death of the mother and child took place at 5AM on 16 March 2009 at the auxiliary hospital in Pailin province.
48-year-old Mit Ron, the husband of the deceased woman, indicated that, in the morning of 17 March, Vorn Yoeub, his 37-year-old wife, and his unborn baby died 6 hours after they arrived in the hospital. He said that his wife died because he did not have the money to pay for her surgery.
Mit Ron said: “The hospital said: You, Uncle, get your money out to pay for the service, it costs 1,000 Thai baths (~$25), you are sick so it’s impossible that you don’t have money with you at all.’ I told them that I don’t have money yet, I just returned from the field and my wife had to deliver the baby, so I didn’t get to go home yet. The hospital asked me if I have relatives in Pailin. I told them that I don’t have relatives, but I can ask to borrow up to 5,000 baths (~$125) from my neighbors to pay for the service. I am not completely without any means.”
Mit Ron said that even when his wife begged the doctors, they simply ignored her: “My wife said, please Doctors, help me now and by morning time, they will bring the money over to pay you. If I don’t get the surgery, I may not survive. Then I asked the doctors if they can do it for her or not? They remained silent until my wife died.”
Mrs. Vorn Yoeub died with her unborn child still in her stomach. She and Mit Ron, her husband, have 8 children living in Suon Ampov Lech village, Pailin commune, Pailin district, Pailin province.
An Neang, the deputy director of the Pailin auxiliary hospital, denied that doctors did not provide medical care, he said that the woman’s situation was already too serious and they could not help her anymore, that was why she died. Ang Neang claimed: “[It would be a] normal birth, but her uterus was not opened. At about 2 to 3 AM, we were prepared to have a surgery for her, but because she lost so much blood, I gave her a blood transfusion, I gave her oxygen, intravenous serum etc… but we couldn’t save her, and at 5AM she died. The other doctors came to help from all over.”
Keo Chan Nol, an official for the Adhoc human rights group, said that Adhoc plans to send an intervention letter to the authority, asking the latter to conduct an investigation into the death of the mother and child in the hospital. Keo Chan Nol said: “In this case, we will intervene with the department involved, in particular with the provincial administration.”
Y Chhean, the Pailin provincial governor, said that he is doing a research into this case: “I am in a meeting, to work on this case.”
According to the family of the deceased woman, the hospital put her body into an ambulance and took her to be cremated at the Wat Ratanak Sophorn pagoda, also known as Koang Kang pagoda, located 1 kilometer from the hospital, at the north of Phnom Yat hill.
Photo Caption: The deceased woman with her unborn child still in her stomach. She allegedly died because her husband did not have money to pay what a journalist of the Koh Santepheap called the "animal-doctors" who refused to give her the surgery she needed to deliver her baby (Photo: Koh Santepheap)