Thai rescuer faces death threat for exposing hospital’s refusal to treat foreigner

Photo via Channel 7

A Thai rescuer is facing death threats after he exposed to the local and international news agencies that a private hospital in Bangkok refused to treat a foreigner who later died because of the delay in treatment.

The rescuer facing the threats, Kittipong Pimphun, of the Ruam Katanyu Foundation, revealed with Channel 7 that he rescued a Taiwanese man who was injured in a car accident and took him to a private hospital near the scene, but the hospital refused to treat the foreigner.

According to Kittipong, the medical workers at the hospital informed him and other rescuers that the patient was a foreigner, and the hospital did not know where they could claim the treatment fee.

Kittipong had to find another hospital for the Taiwanese man, but the foreign man died on the way to the second hospital. Kittipong said he felt this was unfair to the foreigner and decided to share the story on social media on December 8.

The Taiwanese man’s story caught the attention of netizens and news agencies in Thailand and abroad. As the issue went viral and the refusal was against the law, the National Institute of Emergency Medicine (NIEM) and the Department of Health Service Support (HSS) stepped forward to investigate.

The NIEM and HSS had not yet finished the investigation into the hospital’s refusal of the foreigner. According to the law, the hospital and relevant workers would face a fine of up to 40,000 baht and imprisonment of up to two years for refusing patients in an emergency.

Acts of kindness met with death threats

Kittipong’s action led to the death threats, which were issued via the LINE application, on December 26. Kittpong revealed to Channel 7 that he received a friend request from a LINE account, 474boing, at about 8.38pm that day. The account later sent the threatening messages to Kittipong, saying…

“Hey, what are you saying about the hospital? Be careful. Do not be too brave. You might have to pay for it with your life.”

The LINE account mentioned the name of the hospital in the message, but the information was not revealed to the public.

Kittipong revealed that he was not afraid of the threat and dared the account to reveal his real identity and meet him in person. However, the account was later deleted and disappeared.

Kittipong suspected that a medical worker at the hospital created the anonymous account to threaten him. The worker was the only person in the hospital who had his phone numbers, which could lead to his LINE contact being traced. He already filed a complaint at the Khlong Tan in Bangkok and is awaiting an investigation.

Channel 7 reported that the private hospital refused to comment on the matter. The hospital said it would investigate and update the media later.


ORIGINAL STORY: Taiwanese man dies after hospital in Thailand refuses to treat him

Taiwan media platform TVBS reported that a private hospital in Thailand refused to treat a Taiwanese man who later died as a result of his injuries in a car accident. Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged the Thai government to improve its healthcare system.

TVBS reported yesterday, December 11, that the Taiwanese man, whose identity was not revealed, was fatally injured in a car accident. The rescue team rushed him to a private hospital 500 metres away from the accident site but the hospital refused to provide treatment.

The rescue team had to transfer the tourist to a government hospital which was 10 kilometres away. Unfortunately, the Taiwanese victim died on the way to the hospital.

The Tourism Administration of Taiwan reported that the authorities received a report of the death on December 8. The victim was travelling in Thailand with a travel agency, with 19 other tourists and a tour guide.

On the evening of December 7, the Taiwanese man told the tour guide that he was leaving the group to travel alone and would return on the morning of December 8. However, the Taiwanese man did not show up as scheduled, prompting the tour guide to report the missing person to the Thai police. The guide was later informed by the police that the man had died in a car accident.

The details of the accident were not included in the report although TVBS concluded that the accident must have happened in the Thai capital as one of the rescuer’s shirts had a Bangkok logo.

Foreign patients turned away

A Taiwanese travel agency manager, Chen Jianqin, revealed in an interview with TVBS that many foreign tourists encountered a similar experience, especially at small clinics. The places would refuse foreign patients because of language barriers and other concerns related to the foreigner’s financial status and the severity of the disease.

The travel agency manager added that this was common in Thailand and other Southeast Asia countries. The agency also pointed out that hospitals should not refuse foreign patients. This is also against Thai law and would result in a fine of up to 40,000 baht and imprisonment of up to two years.

The report also left messages to the Prime Minister of Thailand, Srettha Thavisin, saying 36.2% of people out of 100,000 died in car accidents. The media said the 61 year old Thai PM should improve the healthcare system for foreigners along with boosting tourism. If not, it would hurt Thailand’s image.

Another news programme, UDN, reported that Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is preparing a further investigation into the incident and voiced concerns over the healthcare system for foreigners.

Recently, a Thai woman demanded justice after a hospital in Nonthaburi province near Bangkok charged her 250,000 baht for four days of treatment. The hospital later admitted that it had mistaken the woman for a foreigner and charged her at the rate of a foreign patient, which is 30% more expensive.

The hospital agreed to return 100,000 baht to the Thai woman. She agreed to take the amount to end the matter, but expressed her fear of falling ill in Thailand, even though she is a Thai citizen.

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Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger who focuses on translating breakingThai news stories into English. With a background in field journalism, Petch brings several years of experience to the English News desk at The Thaiger. Before joining The Thaiger, Petch worked as a content writer for several known blogging sites in Bangkok, including Happio and The Smart Local. Her articles have been syndicated by many big publishers in Thailand and internationally, including the Daily Mail, The Sun and the Bangkok Post. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp! But during office hours, you can find Petch on LinkedIn and you can reach her by email at

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