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Man held over Victoria hospital fiasco

Sen David / Khmer Times Share:
Li Zhi, a cashier at the hospital, has been arrested. CEN

A Chinese man has been arrested by police over his suspected involvement in the detainment of a patient whose family was unable to pay her medical bills in Tuol Kork district’s Victoria hospital on Sunday.

On Sunday, hospital doctors performed surgery on 18-year-old Phern Mouy Heang after initial examinations showed she had uterine fibroids and had to have it removed because it was considered life-threatening.

After the surgery, Ms Mouy Heang’s family was told to pay $2,000 for the surgery. However, family members were unable to make the full payment.

“We told them that we only had $600 and the rest will be paid in instalments, but the hospital did not agree,” said Ms Mouy Heang’s sister on Facebook Live on Sunday. “They locked my sister inside the hospital for more than two hours. The hospital only agreed to open the door after local authorities intervened.”

After the incident, police questioned a doctor and eight hospital staffers, who’ve since been released.

Additionally, the Health Ministry on Monday issued its decision to shutter the hospital because it deemed that the hospital failed to comply with ministry and professional standards, notably in the handling of its patients.

Colonel Sok Heng, chief of Tuol Kork district police, yesterday said the cashier, a 37-year-old Chinese national named Li Zhi, was the one believed to have confined Ms Mouy Heang and her mother.

“The suspect is now detained at the district police station to be questioned and have his documents prepared for court,” Col Heng said.

District Governor Ek Khun Doeun yesterday said hospital staffers denied all accusations during questioning at the district police station.

“No one from the hospital was accountable,” Mr Khun Doeun said. “If the hospital is found to be guilty as accused, the hospital will face the law.”

Social media users in the days following the incident criticised the hospital on its policy on handling its patients.

“The Victoria Hospital was found guilty so the ministry ordered it to be shuttered,” said one Facebook user. “If it reopens again someday then it will show that Cambodian laws are ineffective.”

The sentiment is also shared by Cambodian Youth Party president Pich Sros who said on Facebook that a reopening would make Cambodians lose confidence in the law.

The incident involving the detention of a patient is not the first time the hospital has seen controversy.

In 2015, the Health Ministry issued a warning to the hospital to cease advertising on television and radio that it offered virginity restoration services.

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