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Police clear hospital staff in Pailin death

Police clear hospital staff in Pailin death

Battambang prosecutor says he plans to look into the March 15 death of a pregnant woman.

Four obstetricians at Pailin Referral Hospital who were interrogated in connection with the March 15 death of a pregnant woman were told Monday they had been cleared of any wrongdoing, the hospital's head of obstetrics told the Post Sunday.

Luy Chantha, who was among those questioned, said Pailin Governor Y Chhien informed the obstetricians that he would "stop this problem" during a meeting last week in which they explained their version of events.

The woman, Vorn Yoeub, 37, went to the hospital to give birth on the night of March 15 with her husband, Mith Rorn. In a March 18 interview with the Post, Mith Rorn said obstetricians at the hospital demanded US$25 in advance to treat Vorn Yoeub, a fee the couple could not pay.

"My wife's stomach got very painful, and I woke up the two obstetricians three times," Mith Rorn said.

"But they ignored me and said it could wait until the morning. But by then it was too late - my wife died during the night."

This account was disputed by hospital staff, and Luy Chantha reiterated on Sunday the hospital's claim that it never turned away patients who were too poor to pay treatment fees.  

Luy Chantha said the investigation, conducted by Pailin police officers, began Thursday and ended Sunday.

Lawyer to look into case

Battambang court prosecutor Koy Chanya, who has jurisdiction in the case, said Monday that he planned to continue pursuing it despite the officers' finding that the obstetricians were not in the wrong.

"I will not be silenced. I will try my best to find justice for any victim," he said. "This is very shocking news of carelessness on the part of expert doctors and obstetricians."

Luy Chantha said she planned to sue any NGO workers and others who had pushed for a criminal inquiry, saying they had "damaged our reputation throughout the country".

Chhuon Makara, Pailin provincial coordinator for the rights group Adhoc, said the question of whether to continue pursuing the case was complicated by the fact that Mith Rorn had decided not to press charges.

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