The Ministry of Health has decided to close down privately-owned Deum Angkrong Clinic and Maternity in Kampong Speu province and revoked all of its permits.

A decision signed by health ministry secretary of state Or Vandine on December 8 said negligence by the clinic’s untrained staff – who held no professional registration – resulted in serious complications to a patient who had sought care.

The clinic is located on National Road 3 in Kong Pisey district’s Ang Popel commune.

“Due to the use of employees without training, a lack of professional registration and for relocating without notifying the ministry, the clinic is closed. The owners and those who have violated the ethics of the medical profession in the examination and treatment of patients must be held responsible before the law,” it said.

The decision to close the clinic followed a recent unfortunate incident at the clinic. On November 30, clinic allowed an untrained midwife to perform an abortion to remove a stillborn baby. During the operation, the midwife mistakenly cut the intestine of the mother, seriously injuring her. The patient is now recovering at Calmette Hospital in Phnom Penh.

The victim’s condition has improved. Bun Rany Hun Sen, President of the Cambodian Red Cross, has announced that she will cover the full cost of medical treatment.

“Deum Angkrong Clinic and Maternity was negligent in not allowing a midwife to receive further training in abortion, which is contrary to ministry guidelines. The midwife should have received instruction from the National Maternal and Child Health Centre and been a member of the Midwifery Professional Committee,” it added.

Yong Kim Eng, director of the People’s Centre for Development and Peace, applauded the decision, saying the closure served as a warning to other clinics or non-professional private services to improve their quality and professionalism.

“People visit doctors to save their lives, not to make them more difficult or end up with a chronic disease. The decision to close the clinic was the right one, but providing compensation to the patient is another important thing that needs to be done. She has become a victim of chronic illness due to the hospital’s unprofessionalism,” he said.

He also requested that the health ministry inspect other hospitals, and that the inspections must be transparent in order to give the public confidence in the medical system.

“The ministry must take strict action, and not wait for their superiors to call for it. Monitoring the health sector is one of the ministry’s most important duties,” he said.