Phuket hospital denies refusing treatment to injured British traveller

PHUKET: The management of Phuket International Hospital (PIH) has denied reports that they refused treatment to a British national injured in a motorbike accident after the victim’s mother claimed they denied assistance until payment had been guaranteed by the insurance provider.

The hospital held a press conference yesterday to clarify that even though the insurance company did not guarantee payment, Jacob Tonkin was provided medical care since the moment he was admitted to the hospital early Monday morning.

Mr Tonkin’s mother, Jane, who lives in Cheshire, UK, spoke to several UK-based newspapers, including the Daily Mirror and Manchester Evening News about her son’s accident.

“[Mr Tonkin] was also left with a fractured femur, as well as a second break to his leg, but his family claim doctors at the hospital refused to treat any of his injuries until payment had been guaranteed,” the Daily Mirror reported (story here).

The Manchester Evening News also reported the incident with the headline “My son was left for dead in Thailand… now I just want him home”.

“The accident occurred late at night on May 7 and Mr Tonkin arrived at the hospital just after midnight. The truth is that we started treating him immediately even though we did not receive any guarantee of payment from the insurance company,” said PIH Director Dr Dun Damrongsak.

“Two doctors teamed up to take care of him – a neurologist and an orthopedic surgeon – as he had injured both his head and leg. He underwent surgery on his leg on May 8,” he added.

Dr Dun said that the total cost of the treatment at this stage is about 300,000 baht and that the hospital has already contacted Mr Tonkin’s family.

Mr Tonkin is reportedly out of immediate danger, but is still under doctors’ care at the hospital.

“We have yet to receive any confirmation from the insurance company about whether they will cover Mr Tonkin’s medical bills or not. However, we have contacted his mother,” said Dr Dun.

PIH management has yet to discuss the news reports with Ms Jane.

“We will wait for her to arrive in Thailand first and then clarify the issue with her,” said Dr Dun.

“In the meantime, Mr Tonkin’s treatment is ongoing and we are closely monitoring his condition,” he added.

— Kongleaphy Keam

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