After Patient Death, Unlicensed Medic Burns Evidence, Escapes

An unlicensed medic is on the run after being blamed for the death of a 33-year-old patient who passed away shortly after receiving an injection early Saturday morning in Kompong Speu province, police said.

According to Yang Sann, chief of Champou Proek commune in Odong district, Porn Kunthea returned to his house on Friday evening after harvesting rice, complaining to his wife of severe dizziness and exhaustion.

At around 2 a.m. on Saturday, Porn Kunthea’s wife brought him to see Phoeun Vankea, 33, an unlicensed village medic, who proceeded to administer an injection, Mr. Sann said.

Porn Kunthea returned home with his wife, but immediately began complaining of chest pains, leading his wife to call Mr. Vankea to come to their house, he said. The medic rushed over and said he would return with an intravenous fluid, but he disappeared after leaving their home.

Porn Kunthea died in his sleep at about 4 a.m., according to Mr. Sann.

The commune chief said that Mr. Vankea did not have a license to provide medical services to the villagers but had nonetheless been acting as a village doctor for more than a year.

Kong Bunly, an official with the provincial health department who examined Porn Kunthea following his death, said they had determined that the man died within an hour of receiving the injection.

However, Dr. Bunly said it was unclear if the injection caused the death, partly because Mr. Vankea burned all evidence of the injection before running away.

“We are not sure whether it really is because of the medicine or not because we don’t know the kind of medicine [used],” he said.

Or Vanthen, director of the provincial health department, said that Mr. Vankea had broken the law regardless of whether he was responsible for the death.

“Based on the law, he can only give ordinary care and has no right to give injections,” Mr. Vanthen said.

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