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Cancer Patient Narrowly Escapes Death Due to Hospital Error


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A major hospital’s lapse nearly cost a cancer patient’s life when medical gauze was unintentionally left inside her uterus, causing a severe infection. The patient’s son has publicly called for accountability from the healthcare facility in Pathum Thani.

 

The alarming incident was disclosed when the son shared on social media that his mother, who was undergoing uterine cancer treatment, had to be rushed back to the hospital. The revelation highlighted negligence during a cancer treatment procedure where gauze was forgotten inside her, leading to a significant infection and a week-long hospital stay.

 

Khwanchai Jitbanjong, aged 37, recounted that his mother was diagnosed with stage 1 uterine cancer, prompting an immediate medical response. On June 4, doctors at the hospital placed radioactive seeds in her uterus. The gauze should have been removed by a nurse but was overlooked.

 

Initially, Jitbanjong assumed that the subsequent infection was a side effect of the cancer treatment. However, his concerns grew when his mother’s fever persisted despite medication. This prompted him to rush her back to the hospital, seeking urgent medical attention.

 

Despite being eligible for government-funded cancer treatment, the hospital initially refused to provide care without additional payment, compelling Khwanchai to cover the costs out of pocket. Only after confirming the infection did the hospital administer antibiotics.

 

On June 10, Khwanchai sought free treatment per his mother’s entitlement but was instead directed to a general doctor, exacerbating his frustration. The hospital’s unwillingness to offer free cancer-specific medication pushed Khwanchai to seek private care.

 

Eventually, his mother’s condition significantly worsened.

 

The situation escalated on June 14 when his mother expelled the forgotten gauze piece, requiring an urgent visit to a state hospital in Ang Thong. Following this, Khwanchai demanded the use of government-funded treatment, attributing the infection to the hospital's oversight.

 

His efforts, eventually supported by media intervention, led the hospital to relent and provide the necessary treatment. Khwanchai expressed deep disappointment over the hospital’s initial reluctance to recognise their error and offer adequate care, stressing that media involvement was crucial in averting a potential tragedy.

 

Picture courtesy: Khaosod

 

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-- 2024-06-18

 

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49 minutes ago, Geoffggi said:

This is where naming & shaming is required instead of hiding behind draconian laws ...

Exactly, sounds like a hospital from hell...

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I'm sure that any hospital in Thailand, maybe anywhere, can refer to documents signed by the patient before treatment that state the hospital and those who work there are not responsible for anything by anyone at any time. Not that that makes it right, of course. The patient might be lucky in this case that the hospital finally relented, after media pressure.

 

I recently had eye surgery and had to sign such documents, and even had my thumb print taken twice in case I later denied the signature was mine.

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In our work, we all make mistakes in life. No one is exempt.

Luckily, for most of us, they are not life threatening.

No one sues us for trillions of $$$. We get a slap on the wrist and told not to do it again.

I feel sorry for medical workers - they are human too.

Sadly though, it is often a life or death situation, that is why they are usually ultra cautious.

That is why I agree with kbb above. (Minorities speaking out.)

It is sad that the American 'sue 'til you are broke' culture has now morphed all over the world.

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59 minutes ago, kbb said:

100 % disagree.

 

A mistake like this is avoidable (The OR staff should be counting  items in/out per SOP). That's obvious. To think this doesn't happen back home also? Ridiculous - Especially since Insurance companies & for profit medical systems squeeze OR and other support staff. 

 

Setting aside the idea of malpractice claims here in Thailand - I doubt you'd ever recover more than a few thousand baht for gross stupidity, I believe the actual care you can get here is fine. 

 

My personal experiences with Thai medical (I m mostly self insured, with care provided mostly at public hospitals & charged at farang rates)

 

Several routine colonoscopies. 

The Drs were cautious. 

They caught and questioned about slightly odd EKGs I knew about before.  

 

An accident that led to over 12 stitches & recommended extra scans due to a head injury. 

 

A broken ankle that was mis diagnosed in the USA, and correctly found and treated here. 

(I was in the urgent care clinic in california for over 8 hours to get even that level of treatment)

 

Last year I was hospitalized for Covid - Almost did not survive.

They escalated my case twice, and sent me from a small to midsize, then to a larger hospital within 2 days. 

I believe that if I was in the USA, with their overcrowded facilities, I honestly might not have made it. It would have been down to a coin flip. 

 

It's true - I am uncomfortable with the idea that there is little (if any) recourse to medical errors here. 

And if you need specialists, you probably need to head to a private hospital. 

 

On the other hand, if you have a Thai partner who can navigate the language problems (Essential!), then you can get good care here. 

 

But to tell people with health issues that the care here is awful l can cause actual harm. 

 

If you need a Dr - see a Dr. 

 

 

My father had an op for hemorrhoids ( Western country) and was readmitted after a week in intense pain. Similar error. Swab actually stitched in .

Obvious lapses in practice happen. Signing waivers does not remove rights in malpractice accountability.

 

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2 minutes ago, Tropicalevo said:

I went to BNH. Soi Convent? Bangkok.

It was 70,000 baht self insured.

They have an offer on at the moment. It was supposed to finish 30/04 but you can still book it.

 

https://mbrace.bnhhospital.com/en/product/colon_cancer_screening/

 

Thanks for the link. However I'm more geared to the public hospitals which @kbb said he mostly goes to:

 

1 hour ago, kbb said:

My personal experiences with Thai medical (I m mostly self insured, with care provided mostly at public hospitals & charged at farang rates)

Several routine colonoscopies. 

The Drs were cautious. 

They caught and questioned about slightly odd EKGs I knew about before.  

 

 

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This type of incident is not just confined to Thailand but are reported in developed countries too. From the US.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), retained surgical bodies after a procedure is an issue for surgeons and hospitals. They estimate surgical instruments get left inside patients between 0.3 to 1.0 per 1,000 abdominal operations.

https://goldenlawoffice.com/medical-malpractice/how-often-do-surgical-instruments-get-left-inside-patients/#:~:text=They estimate surgical instruments get,1.0 per 1%2C000 abdominal operations.

 

 

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3 hours ago, hotchilli said:

Exactly, sounds like a hospital from hell...

 

My Thai son's MIL was diagnosed (by the head doctor at local small gov't hospital) with a leak in her heart system no treatment offered.

 

It got worse family asked for second opinion. Refused.

 

Family asked for referral to take her to another hospital for a diagnosis. Refused along with severe abuse about damaging the reputation of the head doctor and the hospital.

 

She died. My Thai son tried to convince the family to request an investigation. Total no and son got abuse for his suggestion which would have damaged the reputation of the doctor and the local hospital.

 

End of story.

 

 

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7 hours ago, webfact said:

On June 10, Khwanchai sought free treatment per his mother’s entitlement but was instead directed to a general doctor, exacerbating his frustration. The hospital’s unwillingness to offer free cancer-specific medication pushed Khwanchai to seek private care.

I'm a little bit confused, so was it the private hospital that forked up, or a govt. one ?

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News Report: Hospital Admits Mistake in Retaining Gauze in Patient's Body for 10 Days

 

“Date: June 18, 2024

 

Pathum Thani, Thailand - Thammasat University Hospital has issued a public apology following a grave medical oversight that resulted in severe infection for a patient undergoing uterine cancer treatment. The hospital acknowledged the error of leaving a 2-meter gauze inside the patient's vaginal cavity for ten days, leading to a significant health deterioration.

 

The incident came to light when Khwanchai Chitbanjong, the son of the affected patient, took to Facebook to highlight his mother's plight. According to Khwanchai, his mother was diagnosed with stage 1 uterine cancer and was undergoing brachytherapy—a treatment that involves implanting radioactive material in the uterus—at the hospital. On June 4, during the procedure, the medical team mistakenly left gauze inside the patient, which subsequently caused a severe infection.

 

In their statement, the hospital detailed the procedural lapse, admitting that the failure to verify the gauze length led to the incident. The hospital expressed deep regret for the oversight and assured full responsibility for the patient's ongoing care and recovery.

 

The hospital has pledged comprehensive medical treatment to ensure the patient returns to normal health and has committed to providing appropriate compensation. Additionally, they emphasized implementing stricter measures to prevent any recurrence of such incidents.

 

The hospital's statement underscores their dedication to patient safety and their intent to restore trust by taking immediate corrective actions. The patient's condition remains under close medical supervision as efforts to treat the infection continue.

 

This case serves as a stark reminder of the critical importance of meticulous medical practice and the profound impacts of medical errors on patients' lives.”

 

https://www.thaipbs.or.th/news/content/341137

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