Leicestershire English teacher Gareth Davies dead‚ British ambassador defends lack of intervention

Forty-seven-year-old Leicestershire English teacher Gareth Davies has died in Bangkok just days after his impassioned pleas to be transferred from a provincial Thailand hospital were answered, while British Ambassador to Thailand Asif Ahmad, continues to defend the British Embassy in Bangkok’s lack of intervention.

British Ambassador to Thailand Asif Ahmad.
British Ambassador to Thailand Asif Ahmad. Photo: Courtesy The Muslim News

Mr Davies was transferred to Bangkok’s Rajavithi Hospital late on Friday afternoon, after days of intense lobbying by Thai and foreign citizens in Bangkok saw the Leicestershire English teacher’s employer, Kasem Bundit University, remit the social welfare contributions it had been deducting from his salary to Thailand’s Social Welfare Fund and settle his hospital bill at the HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Medical Centre, some 70km (43 miles) from the heart of Bangkok. (See: Get me out of here pleads Leicestershire English teacher)

However, when Mr Davies arrived at Rajavithi Hospital on Friday evening the hospital was reluctant to admit him as it was unable to confirm his Social Welfare Fund eligibility. This set off a series of late-night telephone calls to Thai government employees, government ministers, and officials and it was only due to the assistance of well connected Bangkok businesswoman Patrachit Chotikapanich tapping her extensive network of influential people that the hospital admitted him late on Friday evening.

At the same time a furious Twitter exchange took place between photo-journ’s newsblog and Mr Ahmad on holiday in London, wherein the diplomat continued to defend the lack of face-to-face consular assistance provided to Mr Davies, saying it was not the responsibility of the British embassy to intervene in these matters.

Ambassador Asif Ahmad: “visits not the only way we help”

Tweets exchanged between photo-journ's newsblog & British Ambassador Asif Ahmad on March 23
Tweets exchanged between photo-journ’s newsblog & British Ambassador Asif Ahmad on March 23
British Ambassador to Thailand Asif Ahmad claims journalists can intervene where diplomats can't
British Ambassador to Thailand Asif Ahmad claims journalists can intervene where diplomats can’t

In one Tweet Mr Ahmad said, “visits not the only way we help 100s of Brits in hospital”, while in another he said, “we cant ask for better healthcare than that provided by local hospitals. Sadly restraining patients is normal practice here”.

Mr Ahmad went on to claim, “personal care in govt hospital and aftercare is largely left to patient’s family and friends in Thailand and not done by nurses” ( a point disputed by Thai people), later claiming “media focus on case has had a positive influence on the employer. You stepped in an area UK govt cannot intervene.”

When photo-journ’s newsblog visited the Leicestershire English teacher on Sunday afternoon a Rajavithi Hospital ra esident doctor who cannot be named because he is not authorized to speak to the media, said Mr Davies was in a “very critical condition” with his prognosis only being “fair”.

Terminal end point for Bangkok hospitals

Leicestershire English teacher Gareth Davies died in Bangkok on March 25, 2012 despite the best efforts of British & Thai friends
Leicestershire English teacher Gareth Davies died in Bangkok on March 25, 2012 despite the best efforts of British & Thai friends. Photo: John Le Fevre

“He’s obviously been sick for a long time, has been moved from hospital to hospital and it appears his treatment to date has not been entirely appropriate. He’s severely malnourished and his immune system is equivalent to that of a six-month-old baby. The risk of infection is very high”

Describing the ward Mr Davies was admitted to as the “terminal end point for Bangkok hospitals”, the doctor said Rajavithi Hospital’s department of medicine male ward was where other hospitals in Bangkok sent their most seriously ill and complicated cases when they were unable to provide appropriate medical care.

“We’re not unfamiliar with CREST Syndrome and tomorrow I will be consulting with the heart specialists and renal specialists regarding the treatment we will provide. He’s throat is very constricted which means he is not able to swallow food and I’ll also be consulting a surgeon to see if he is strong enough to have a tube inserted directly into his stomach to improve nutritional intake”, he said.

However, before any of these steps could be implemented the Leicestershire English teacher died from cardiac arrest at about 6.30am Monday (March 26) morning, with the same hospital doctor saying extensive attempts to revive Mr Davies were made, but hospital staff were unable to restart his heart.

Brits & Thai friends outraged over lack of embassy intervention

A nurse attends to Gareth Davies at Rajavithi Hospital on Sunday, March 25
A nurse attends to Gareth Davies at Rajavithi Hospital on Sunday, March 25. Photo: John Le Fevre

The death of Mr Davies and the lack proactive intervention by the British Embassy Bangkok has caused outrage and anger amongs Mr Davies’ Thai and foreign friends, all of whom are dismayed at “the least we can do is the least we will do” approach taken.

Ms Chotikapanich said she is appalled at the way the Leicestershire English teacher has been treated by Kasem Bundit University and the British Embassy Bangkok. “Gareth told me he had attempted to reach out to the British Embassy on several occasions, but despite him begging for help they never once visited him.

“Kasem Bundit University should be ashamed of themselves for allowing this situation to go on for so long and I intend to raise this formally with the Ministry of Education, the Office of Higher Education, and the Prime Minister directly. How is Thailand going to attract quality foreign teachers to help us improve our English language skills if employees are treated like this?

“What is the point of having a large embassy compound with hundreds of staff if they refuse to intervene on behalf of their citizens? Is this the service standard that British people expect?” Ms Chotikapanich said.

 

ENDS:
© 2012 John Le Fevre

 

Footnote: Mr Michael Davies wishes to express his sincerest thanks to the numerous Thai people, many of whom did not know Gareth, for their tireless efforts in attempting to help him.

 

Related: Get me out of here pleads Leicestershire English teacher

Related: Leicestershire English teacher abandoned by Kasem Bundit University, Bangkok

Download: Thailand Social Security Fund information brochure (Eng)

 

Leicestershire English teacher‚ Gareth Davies‚ Kasem Bundit University‚ Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Medical Centre‚ Rajavithi Hospital‚ British Embassy Bangkok‚ Asif Ahmad

 

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John Le Fevre

Deputy editor, Thailand & GMS editor at The Establishment Post

John Le Fevre is an Australian national with more than 35 years experience as a journalist, photographer, videographer and copy editor.

He is currently deputy editor and Thailand / GMS region editor for The Establishment Post

Opinions and views expressed on this site are those of the author’s only. Read more at About me

7 Responses to "Leicestershire English teacher Gareth Davies dead‚ British ambassador defends lack of intervention"

  1. ‡∏≠‡∏≤‡∏à‡∏≤‡∏£‡∏¢‡πå ‡πć∏à‡∏¢‡πå   April 10, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    This is not at all surprising, nevertheless totally unacceptable. An utterly complete failure both on the part of the university and the embassy. The larger portion of blame is on the university. Not providing the employee with the health insurance he/she is guaranteed (in accordance with their contract) and for which the employee has deducted monthly from their salary is not only bad business and disrespectful, but also illegal. In many countries, a case like this could also result in the employer being negligent. The ONLY way to stop (or discourage) cases like these from developing here in Thailand is to stick together as a group and put pressure on entities that exploit employees (and/or foreigners). Thailand is a very interdependent society and individuals are often powerless, thus the importance of groups. Nobody would even know about this if it weren’t brought into the public. Great work getting this out!

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  2. Octave   April 8, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    Mr Asif

    Please raise the “Systematic Problem”.. that according to British Passports Her Majesty the Queen expects all whom it may concern to offer the bearer Protection.

    I think it concerns you and your staff and you should have offered protection.

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  3. Stephen Peter Carley   March 27, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    This is not the only time a close teaching buddy of mine died in exactly the same way 4 years ago despite my pleading with the British embassy at numerous times! they should be ashamed of themselves but little more than expected. RIP Gareth

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  4. John Seaman   March 27, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    I knew Gareth Davies slightly and he struck me as a good person, very caring about his students. This has all happened so quickly that my head is spinning. He didn’t deserve to die like this. I take better care of my pets. RIP Archan Garf. Your many students in Thailand and elsewhere will long remember you.

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  5. Octave   March 26, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    I am not surprised that Britain is Broken. Its absolutely amazing that the embassy wouldnt do ANYTHING to help this poor guy. From what I understand they lied saying they had done various things to contact the family but had actually done NOTHING at all.

    No hospital visits, no public awareness, they didnt even bring him some food!

    Every year countless Brits die in Thailand, some in jail – I recal recently a mentally ill Brit nearly starved to death in a Thai jail. He hadnt committed any crimes. The Embassy did nothing. Its polittially incorrect or somthing for them to intervene apparently. Although if you are American, Australian, Israeli, Japanese, Swiss or from any “first world” European country you can bet the embassy will help.

    In Australia they even get involved when their citizens break laws overseas and DEMAND fair treatment for them.

    As a British subject you are commited to serve and fight for your Queen and country overseas in time of war. But what would they do for you, if you are in need of assistance? NOTHING.

    Want to open a multi-million dollar business or do some trade with Thailand of course they are there to help. Teacher? Go rot…

    Broken Britain – corrupt society utterly rotten to the core.

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    • Nice   May 25, 2012 at 2:22 pm

      I have to agree with you there, Octave.

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  6. Ray Sutthinoi   March 26, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    My sincere condolences to the family of Gareth Davies.
    As for the British Ambassador to Thailand , he should remove himself from that position immediately !
    Only due to the hard work of Khun Patrachit Chotikapanich and the author of this blog was Gareth able to die with some dignity in Rajavithi Hospital Bangkok this morning.
    RIP

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