Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Thai malpractice bill draft

Today news from BusinessWeek wrote about the Thai malpractice bill under draft (link given above), with incomplete information, flawed Westerners' viewpoints and far from familiarization with Thai generosity-centric cultural background. To my chagrin, the writer of that news' piece seems to be a Thai. Of course, American readers are that magazine's prime audience, not Thais on the other side of the globe.

I am not a medical practitioner but I have recently heard some of my doctor friends personally voicing their serious disagreement to the current draft under a westerners' model. They said they are being sued already in civil courts once in a while for allegedly giving insufficient care to some demanding patients without this draft law in effect yet. This draft law would make them quit their jobs for they are already fed up with some of those greedy people.

From what I read in Thai newspapers, I don't like the current draft version which will open up a much bigger pandora box of American style law suits against doctors, nurses, assistant medical staff, emergency aid-workers, any passer-by who helped accident victims, etc.

I agree that there should be a law to help some people. But a new version of the bill must make it less likely to be exploited by some bad persons who will likely exploits loopholes on the system for personal financial gains and wreak havoc on the kindness of Thai society. Thai health workers often give free medical assistants, or just for 30 Baht (< $1 USD) a visit charge for a government hospital treatment of any diseases including AIDS (i.e. expensive drugs), they could be naively sued for anything if patients are not satisfied. A non-technical committee proposed in the draft to look into the claims will have no medical experience to deal with those claims. In the current draft bill, doctors, aid-workers and emergency help volunteers will be practically treated as guilty unless proven otherwise later. The system may pay to the claimants upfront, regardless of the validity of the claims. The claimants can still sue in a civil court on top of their getting compensation from this new system. So it will be double whammy for any claimants.

This present draft is discouraging for medical workers in Thailand. In the end, everyone in Thailand will suffer. Helps of good heart will be gone from the Thai society, only financial gains will be the essence. Everyone will sue for their right to get paid. I for one, will not stop my car by to help any accident victims on the road.

Thai people smart enough have been fed up with too many free items given by Thai governments to buy votes for their parties already:- e.g. some free-bus, free-train, free-eletricity (to a level), free water supple (to a level), cheap free medical healthcares. (We also shoulder over 1 million illegal immigrant workers and war-refugees on their medical costs). We are already using our children's money to pay for our "extravaganza" today.

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