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Father won't file suit over baby's 'death'

Father won't file suit over baby's 'death'

Soriya Clinic apologises, but denies legal fault in incident.

THE father of a premature baby mistakenly declared dead twice by medical staff has agreed to suspend legal action against the clinic responsible after receiving a letter of apology.

Im Samnang, whose name means "Lucky", was born three months premature on Monday, weighing just 0.9 kilograms. Staff at the Soriya Clinic in Phnom Penh's Phsar Thmei 1 commune twice told Im Vannarith his son had died, but each time he checked his son's body, he discovered the child was still breathing.

The boy, who is still in intensive care, was eventually taken to Kantha Bopha Hospital, where doctors said the delay in admitting him had hampered his chances of survival.

Im Vannarith had threatened to take legal action against the clinic's director, Dr Hy Sopharea, for attempted infanticide, but agreed on Thursday to postpone the move after Hy Sopharea apologised by letter.

"I would like to express my deepest regret over the incident during the delivery of your son on August 10," the letter states. "I believe the incident really made you, your wife and your family disappointed. After mutual understanding in a friendly manner and with facilitation from the Ministry of Health, you and your wife agree to accept my apology."

Speaking Thursday, Im Vannarith confirmed he had accepted the apology, but warned he would not hesitate to file a further complaint if the clinic failed to provide adequate care in the future.

Hy Sopharea could not be reached on Thursday, but Serey Vath, a spokesman for the clinic, said that the letter was an apology, not an admission of liability. "The letter was meant to show we are sorry, not to show we were at fault," he said.

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