UBON RATCHATHANI: A housewife in Muang District found out the hard way that the state’s 30-baht medical care scheme doesn’t always guarantee top-notch care. Puttachart Nammontri, 32, was admitted to Ubonrak Thonburi Hospital in Muang District to give birth to her second baby girl, on March 10 last year. She told her gynecologist, Dr Jamras Poompuang, that she wanted to be sterilized by tubal ligation after the birth. Both procedures apparently went normally and K. Puttachart was soon released with her infant daughter. But about two months later, she began to experience some very distressing symptoms. During what should have been a bowel movement, excretions no longer exited via the appropriate rear channel but, instead, out the front. Poor Puttachart was unable to control herself and – afraid to go out anywhere – soon became housebound. Her husband was forced to be the family’s sole breadwinner, but he made less than 100 baht a day, leaving the family in ever-worsening poverty. K. Puttachart said that when she returned to see Dr Jamras, he said nothing and simply prescribed her some antacid pills. She also learned that, like many other private hospitals, Ubonrak Thonburi had opted out of the 30-baht scheme; she could no longer afford treatment there. As she couldn’t afford the transport to Samphasitprasong government hospital, far from where she lived, she went home hoping that some kind soul would give her the money she needed for treatment. But nobody did. As a result, she suffered from this dangerous condition for well over a year. It was only when a reporter heard of K. Puttachart’s plight and confronted the hospital that doctors there agreed to give K. Puttachart a full gynecological check-up and perform whatever surgery she needed to fix the problem – all free of charge.
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