Clinic Shut for Operating Without a License

A medical clinic popular among Phnom Penh’s expatriate community has been shut by the government for operating without a li­cense from the Ministry of Health, off­icials said Thursday.

Health ministry officials closed Sur­ya Medical Services, located on Street 294, on Wednesday, said the ministry’s hospital services department director. Sann Sary. Australia native Gloria Christie, who Sann Sary said identifies herself as a medical doctor, heads the clinic.

“She had the license in the name of an RCAF medical person issued in 2000 for six months,” Sann Sary said. “It has expired since then and she has not asked for an extension. She still claims that she is a doctor.”

“Gloria said that she has the de­gree and promised to have it faxed to me from abroad, but until now I have not seen it,” he added.

Sann Sary said the Ministry of Health investigated the clinic after Aus­tralian national Bronwyn Sloan, a correspondent for Deutsche Presse-Agentur, complained on Mon­­­day to the ministry that her daughter had received an incorrect diag­nosis at the establishment in February.

“They misdiagnosed hundreds of people, it was not only me who complained,” Sloan said by telephone, add­ing that she had also complained to the Australian Em­bassy, which she said told her it could not help. She added that she is now considering suing Christie for malpractice. A report on Christie also ap­peared on the DPA news service on Thurs­day.

Christie declined comment when she was contacted by telephone and asked whether she was a medical doctor.

“There is no comment at this time,” she said. “I have sent all the paperwork to the ministry and it is up to the ministry to decide.”

Naomi Viccars, third secretary at the Australian Embassy, said the em­bassy could not comment on whether Christie was a medical doctor. Viccars said the embassy also could not confirm that Christie had ever worked for AusAID.

An official working for the AusAID-funded Cambodian Crimi­nal Justice Assistance Project claim­ed on condition of anonymity that Christie had worked as a nurse for the project in Cambodian prisons several years ago.

“I believe she has a doctorate in philosophy, not medicine,” the official said.

A UNAIDS report from Febru­ary 2000 identifies Christie as a then-member of the project.

Dr Gavin Scott, a British national who operates the competing Trop­i­cal and Travelers Medical Clinic, said all foreign doctors must have their degrees certified by their em­bassies before receiving medical li­censes in Cambodia.

“I warn my patients about bogus doctors. When you go to a clinic you should see the doctor’s medical certificates on the wall and a license with photograph,” he said.

Sann Sary said that Sloan’s allegations are part of a complicated, private dispute with Christie.

This is not Christie’s first apparent brush with controversy. In 2000, she vouched for controversial Belgian Rudy Demasure, who had claimed to be a medical doctor and part of a little-known NGO, Cambodian Re­ha­bilitation and Development Pro­gram, where they both worked.

Then-minister of women’s affairs Mu Sochua said at the time that the Belgian Embassy in Bangkok had informed the Cambodian government that Demasure was not in fact a medical doctor. Demasure was at the time investigated by police on two separate occasions for alleged rapes of minors.

A source said Christie was spotted at Phnom Penh Internation­al Airport on Thursday evening and said she was leaving the country for Bangkok for health reasons.



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