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Foreign doctors aid stampede victims

Two foreign doctors arrived at Calmette Hospital yesterday evening to provide assistance to people who sustained severe injuries during last week’s deadly Diamond Island stampede.

Dr Chhouy Meng, head of the emergency care unit and vice chief of the technical office at Calmette, said two doctors from France and Vietnam were scheduled to arrive yesterday evening, and a hospital official later confirmed their arrival though he did not identify them.

“The doctors in our hospital try the best to treat all seriously injured patients and we will invite the foreign doctors to help us,” Chhouy Meng said.

The two doctors will help Calmette staff determine whether or not patients require treatment overseas, he said. “We have to do our best, and we will send them overseas if we lack the ability to treat them,” Chhouy Meng added.

“So first we have to check whether we need help or not and if we don’t need their help, we have no need to send them overseas.” He added that the pair were invited by the municipal authorities.

Prime Minister Hun Sen has committed the government to paying for medical treatment for anyone injured in the stampede on Diamond Island’s north bridge last week, which killed 351 and injured 395, according to the government’s official figures.

On Monday, he added that the state would also pay for overseas treatment if necessary for anyone injured in the tragic incident.

Chhouy Meng said he did not know exactly how many patients would be evaluated for such care because he had been away from the hospital.

“Now there are some patients from other hospitals”, he said. As of Monday, there were four people in Calmette’s urgent care unit receiving treatment for kidney damage and deep bruising, according to an intern there.

Chhouy Meng referred further questions to the head of Calmette Hospital, Chheang Ra, who declined to comment. Minister of Health Mam Bunheng also declined to provide any information.

Hospital officials said yesterday that a total of 264 people had sought treatment at Calmette Hospital in the wake of the disaster, overwhelming the hospital’s facilities. As of Monday, 142 of the patients remained at the hospital receiving treatment. ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY THOMAS MILLER

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