Clinic Reopens After $35,000 Payout for Fatal Breast Implant

A cosmetic surgery clinic that was ordered closed in November after a woman died a few days after having breast enhancement surgery there has reopened after a $35,000 payout from the clinic’s owner to the deceased’s husband, according to the husband.

Ros Sokny, a television vendor from Kratie province, died of septic shock a few days after undergoing a $3,000 surgery at the De Beaute Clinic in Phnom Penh’s Russei Keo district on November 17. She left behind four children.

cam photo breast implant WEB ONLY
The De Beaute Clinic in Phnom Penh’s Russei Keo district on Sunday. (Matt Surrusco/The Cambodia Daily)

Deputy Phnom Penh Municipal Court prosecutor Srey Makny shut down the clinic “due to its lack of technical efficiency” pending a police investigation, a court spokesman said in November.

The following month, a Health Ministry official said the clinic’s owner had “escaped,” and added that the clinic only had a permit to treat general diseases, “yet it operated cosmetic surgeries, which is wrong.”

“The clinic has been closed forever,” said the official, deputy planning and health information department director Sok Kanha, in December.

A female receptionist at the clinic said on Friday that it had reopened two weeks ago.

Since Friday, police, court and health officials have either declined to comment or would not respond to questions about the results of the investigation or who had permitted the reopening of the clinic.

Reached by telephone on Friday, Thoeun Vityia Sathya, the clinic’s manager, declined to comment. Mr. Vityia Sathya could not be reached on Sunday, while reporters who visited the clinic were denied entry by a security guard.

Phai Veasna, Ros Sokny’s husband, said he received $35,000 in compensation from the clinic’s owner last month.

“They asked to negotiate. I agreed to [the compensation] because I have young children and I don’t want to travel back and forth” to Phnom Penh, Mr. Veasna said. “The amount of money is acceptable.”

Phe Tong, the clinic’s owner, last year sent a letter to Meas Rithy, a news anchor at Hang Meas TV, to defend his clinic’s practices.

Mr. Rithy said in December that the letter claimed Ros Sokny had chosen to go to a cheaper clinic before she had fully recovered from her surgery, paying $38 rather than $70 for an overnight stay. Mr. Rithy was unable to provide a copy of the letter at the time.

Mr. Veasna, the widower, dismissed the claims.

“We have money to do $3,000 worth of surgery and I don’t have $70 to pay per night?” he said at the time. “It’s not true.”

In November, he said one of the surgeons at De Beaute told him to bring his wife to the nearby private ICU Clinic because her post-operation condition had worsened and De Beaute didn’t have the equipment to treat her. She later died at ICU.

On Friday, Mr. Veasna said he was fed up with the clinic and its owner.

“I don’t even want to see the owner’s face,” he said. “My wife died. What else can I do?”

Ms. Kanha, of the Health Ministry, said in November that as far as she knew, Cambodia did not offer specific licenses to regulate clinics offering cosmetic surgery.

“The investigation found that the clinic was operating without standards,” Ms. Kanha said the following month.

“There is no legal basis allowing the clinic to carry out cosmetic surgery.”

When reached on Sunday, she twice asked a reporter to call back later, before she stopped picking up her telephone.

Russei Keo district police chief Teang Chansar referred questions to Mr. Makny, the deputy court prosecutor, who in turn referred questions to court spokesman Ly Sophana, who asked to be sent questions by text message and did not respond.

Those who operated on Ros Sokny have not been identified by the clinic, police or court officials.

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