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Tuol Kork clinic closed pending inquiry after man dies

Phnom Penh health department officials meet at a Tuol Kork clinic that was shut down yesterday after the death of a patient. Photo supplied
Phnom Penh health department officials meet at a Tuol Kork clinic that was shut down yesterday after the death of a patient. Photo supplied

Tuol Kork clinic closed pending inquiry after man dies

A clinic in Phnom Penh’s Tuol Kork district was shut down temporarily yesterday pending an investigation by health officials into the death of a 28-year-old man and previous complaints launched by former patients.

Lam Tao Kong died on Sunday after seeking care at Khem Rany Clinic, where he received a paracetamol injection and was placed on oxygen. Paracetamol, also known as acetaminophen, is a common pain reliever and fever reducer.

Tao Kong’s wife, Sok Rathmony, said her husband, who had complained of neck pain, began to have a seizure about three minutes after being injected. He died while being transported via ambulance to Calmette Hospital, she added.

“When my husband arrived at the clinic, he was still conscious,” she said. “He called me and asked me to come see him at the clinic.”

About 15 minutes later, she arrived at the clinic and called her husband’s phone. Someone else picked up and told her that her husband had already passed away.

Rathmony’s sister filed a complaint yesterday with the Phnom Penh military police against the clinic for malpractice, citing an allergic reaction after the injection.

While adverse reactions to paracetamol are uncommon, articles in medical journals state that it is in rare cases linked to allergic shock, or anaphylaxis.

The Ministry of Health yesterday released a statement on the closure of the clinic citing unspecified violations and non-compliance with its contractual licence regulations.

Sok Sokum, director of the Phnom Penh health department, said health officials had received minor complaints from patients in the past, but failed to elaborate on the issues raised.

Officials decided to close the clinic temporarily in the wake of the patient’s death.

At this point, officials are not 100 per cent sure whether the death resulted from a medical error, Sokum said. His department will also examine the clinic’s practices.

Sokum maintained Tao Kong suffered a heart attack before going to the clinic.

“We need to pause their operation for the time being,” he said. “We are investigating . . . and educating them to make reforms.”

Khem Rany, owner of the clinic, said the patient had a heart attack and was rushed to her clinic in serious condition.

Rany said the patient was in a great deal of pain so she gave him the paracetamol and another unspecified injection.

She added the patient was sweating and complained of a headache, and had difficulty breathing. “He was seriously ill,” she said.

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