A seriously ill Leicestershire English teacher in Thailand, Gareth Davies, has phoned friends and relatives begging to be transferred from the provincial hospital he is warded in, complaining of neglect and abuse by hospital staff.
Mr Davies, from the Leicestershire village of Glennfield, accepted a teaching position at Kasem Bundit University last year, but when he fell ill earlier this month with CREST Syndrome, a connective tissue disease that affects the skin, blood vessels, muscles, and internal organs, he found that his employer had not made the necessary contributions to the country’s Social Welfare Fund, despite deducting his share of contributions from his salary. (See: Leicestershire English teacher abandoned by Kasem Bundit University).
A fellow Leicestershire businessman in Bangkok and friend of Mr Davies said he received a late-night telephone call last night (March 21) from the Leicestershire English teacher, begging to be moved from the HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Medical Centre in Nakon Nayok, about 70km from Bangkok, due to continued abuse and neglect by hospital staff.
Wishing to be only identified by the name of Jason, the man said, “Gareth was almost in tears begging to be moved from the current hospital. He said the nursing staff ignore his requests for assistance and one male nurse in particular is hurting him”.
Tied to the bed & left in the toilet for 3 hours
Photo-journ’s newsblog spoke to the Leicestershire English teacher by telephone this morning and found Mr Davies to be extremely distressed and close to tears. Mr Davies confirmed the information relayed by Jason and added more details to the litany of abuse and neglect he has been subjected to at the hospital, in a country that trades heavily on its “Land of Smiles” and “Miracle Thailand” tourism slogans to attract more than 12 million foreign tourists annually.
According to Mr Davies he has been left abandoned in the hospital toilet for three-hours or more on more than one occasion after attempting to use the facilities unaided; was left lying on the floor after falling while attempting to get up out of his bed; and “was jumped on by four or five staff and dragged back to the bed and tied to it with strips of cotton for more than four hours” when he attempted to drag himself to a convenience store in the hospital grounds to buy ice to drink, after his repeated requests were ignored by nursing staff.
“Please, please help me to get out of here. It’s horrible. I’m scared at night because the staff just laugh at me or ignore me whenever I ask them for something”, the Leicestershire English teacher said.
The latest complaints follow a disturbing eMail circulated by students of Mr Davies who visited him last weekend and found the ordinarily cheerful Leicestershire English teacher depressed and despondent.
Not bathed for 3 or 4 days
In the eMail sent to fellow students who have been using their own funds to support Mr Davies’ stay in hospital, one student said: “He is lonely and sad and said that [the] nurses are cruel. He hasn’t bathed for 3-4 days because there is no one [to] help him.
“The nurses replied when were asked (sic) that he should have done it by himself, there is a chair inside the bathroom to sit. But Garf (the name Mr Davies is known by to his students) said that he was afraid of falling down and couldn’t stand up.
“His bed sheet was stained with something brown, I asked [the] nurses to change it but they just put the other cloth over (sic).
“I think he couldn’t have Thai food at that hospital at all (sic). Yesterday was fried rice with “Kapi”, a kind of fermented little shrimp. He had only a little cup of banana cake I brought, which wasn’t good for heart disease because of the high potassium and he could have a little piece of apple.
“The apple and beverage you took him last week weren’t touched as no one will prepare something for him such as open the package or cut in little pieces for him (sic).”
It is understood that friends of Mr Davies who received the eMail on Monday filed a formal complaint with the Ministry of Public Health, though no action seems to have been taken to alleviate his suffering.
For Mr Davies brother Michael, the latest information is almost to much to bear. Forced to return to his home in Devon after spending his life savings on his brothers hospital bills to date, Mick said the information being passed to him reinforces all of the fears he has regarding his brothers care and well-being in Thailand.
“I’m at my wits end and penniless after paying the hospital bills and flying out to see him earlier this month”, the Student Union employee at UC Plymouth Marjon said.
Back-flip by Kasem Bundit University
The latest turn of events follows a back-flip by Kasem Bundit University, which yesterday advised a friend and former employer of Mr Davies that the Leicestershire English teacher’s social welfare coverage would commence as of yesterday.
The friend, a well connected Bangkok businesswoman familiar with the requirements of the Social Welfare Fund and its application to foreign staff, is understood to have challenged the university’s offer, insisting that Mr Davies should be covered from the day his work permit was issued by Thailand’s Ministry of Labour.
Wishing to be identified only by the initials PC, the businesswoman, who is also the director of a British national curriculum program at a major Thailand university employing more than a dozen foreign teachers, said she explained in detail how the Social Welfare Fund operates and shortly later a Kasem Bundit University employee phoned again and said the Leicestershire English teacher’s social welfare coverage would indeed be backdated to when his work permit was issued, October 17, 2011 – something that is believed to have cost the university around £16.88 ($US22.35) in late contribution penalties.
According to Ms BC, the university said it wants to move Mr Davies to one of the public hospitals it has an association with under the social welfare scheme, however, the hospital proposed is one that Mr Davies was taken to when he first fell ill and does not have the necessary expertise to treat the wide range of ailments that can affect those afflicted with CREST Syndrome.
Another fly in the ointment is that university continues to insist it is not responsible for any of the Leicestershire English teacher’s medical bills prior to yesterday.
Ms BC said this is ridiculous. “If Gareth’s Social Welfare Fund cover has been backdated to October 17 then most of his medical expenses to date will be covered.
“I’ve already contacted a number of friends and have secured a bed at one of Bangkok’s best teaching hospitals, which has agreed to treat Gareth under the social welfare scheme”. All that is required to have the Leicestershire English teacher transferred is clearance of his existing medical bills and a referral letter from his current doctor, she said.
It is understood that a formal complaint over how the Leicestershire English teacher has been treated at the hospital has been submitted to Thailand’s Office of The National Human Rights Commission, while a spokesperson for the British Embassy in Bangkok said that privacy requirements prevents it from commenting on individual cases, but it was aware of Mr Davies situation and was providing consular assistance to him and his relatives in the UK.
Photos John Le Fevre
Thailand Social Security Act (English-language download file or read online)
Help: Anyone wishing to assist with Gareth’s medical bills and / or the cost of repatriating him to the UK can make a MoneyGram payment to Mick Davies at the Ivybridge Post Office, 2 Glanvilles Mill, Ivybridge, Devon, PL21 9PS, or in Thailand to:
Account name: Gareth Davies
Bank: Kasikorn Bank
Acct No. 657-208-3533
He has spent extensive periods of time working in Africa and throughout Southeast Asia, with stints in the Middle East, the USA, and England.
He has covered major world events including Operation Desert Shield/ Storm, the 1991 pillage in Zaire, the 1994 Rwanda genocide, the 1999 East Timor independence unrest, the 2004 Asian tsunami, and the 2009, 2010, and 2014 Bangkok political protests.
In 1995 he was a Walkley Award finalist, the highest awards in Australian journalism, for his coverage of the 1995 Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) Ebola outbreak.
Most recently he was the Thailand editor/ managing editor of AEC News Today . Prior to that he was the deputy editor and Thailand and Greater Mekong Sub-region editor for The Establishment Post, predecessor of Asean Today.
In the mid-80s and early 90s he owned JLF Promotions, the largest above and below the line marketing and PR firm servicing the high-technology industry in Australia. It was sold in 1995.
Opinions and views expressed on this site are those of the author’s only. Read more at About me
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