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HOSPITAL SAYS ACID-BURN VICTIM ONLY SCALDED WITH HOT WATER

ACID-BURN VICTIM: The hospital that allegedly refused to treat a woman fatally burned in an acid attack now says she asked to leave the hospital voluntarily just before her death.

Wallapha Chaiyamanowong, the Rama II Hospital director, said in a statement that Chorlada Tarawan, who died after her 12-year-old daughter says she was denied treatment, actually asked to leave the hospital after receiving first aid so she could use her social security benefits at another hospital.

The statement added that Chorlada was only scalded with hot water, not acid, and that her vitals were fine.

“She ran into the emergency room and called for help and said she was in pain. Nurses there gave her emergency treatment and saw that her husband poured hot water on her,” read the statement signed by Wallapha.

The hospital’s shifting story contradicts that of the deceased woman’s daughter, Techinee Tarawan, who said she begged nurses to admit her mother after her stepfather splashed her face with acid. She said her mother had to be carried to a taxi after they were turned away and told to go to another hospital, where her mother was soon pronounced dead.

One day after another hospital admin said Chorlada was refused treatment because it wasn’t an emergency, Wallapha’s statement yesterday said the hospital tried admitting her, but Chorlada “refused treatment and said she would go get treatment at the hospital where she could use her social security benefits at Bang Mod Hospital. She also wanted to travel there herself.”

The hospital said they tried to contact Bang Mod hospital but were unsuccessful.

“Rama II Hospital is firm on the grounds that we did the best job we could in maintaining patient care, and would like to offer our condolences to the family,” the letter ended.

Rama II Hospital Director Wallapha Chaiyamanowong, at center, sits Monday for a news conference. At right is Peera Kananuwat, another hospital executive.
Rama II Hospital Director Wallapha Chaiyamanowong, at center, sits Monday for a news conference. At right is Peera Kananuwat, another hospital executive.

Sa-ngad Dutchuyawat, the 37-year-old taxi driver who drove Chorlada and her daughter, told police during hour-long questioning that hospital staff told him to go to Bang Mod Hospital because Chorlada only had skin burns from hot water.

“She had bandages on her arms and was still conscious. The daughter kept calling her mother. I didn’t strike up a conversation because she seemed to be injured,” Sa-ngad said.

Sa-ngad said he dropped them off after a 10-minute drive to Bang Mod, where hospital staff carried Chorlada out on a stretcher. Chorlada was briefly conscious, Sa-ngad said.

“They asked if she was alright. She said no,” Sa-ngad said.

Techinee said CPR was attempted on her mother before hospital staff informed her she had died.

Police Col. Apirat Poomkumarn of Ta Kham Police said that Atchariya Reungrattanapong, who runs a victim advocacy group and is representing the family, has led a team to examine Chorlada’s body. He said they found acid not only on her face, but also corroding her digestive system, suggesting she was forced to drink it as well.

Kumtun Singnad, Chorlada’s husband, was arrested Sunday night after fleeing to Nakhon Sawan province. Police said he has confessed to attacking her in a jealous rage. He was taken this morning to the Thonburi Criminal Court where he is expected to be arraigned for murder.

Chorlada’s body has been taken by her family to Khon Kaen, where her family is in mourning.

Panupong Panchomphoo, 16, Chorlada’s nephew, rushed from Chaiyaphum as soon as he heard the news.

“We are all very worried about the daughter,” he said. “Today our family has lost our breadwinner. We have to keep fighting, but we are so sad and cannot accept what happened. Everyone’s cried until there are no tears left.”

Chorlada Tarawan’s family mourns Tuesday in Khon Kaen, where her body has been taken for funerary rites.
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