Public Health Ministry permanent secretary Dr Sukhum Kanchanapimai affirmed on Friday that a doctor at a state hospital in Nakhon Sawan who was accused of raping a female patient at his private clinic would face disciplinary punishment if found guilty, noting it was a criminal offence.
Sukhum said he had assigned an inspector-general who oversees Nakhon Sawan and the head of the provincial health office to follow up on the investigation.
He said the officials would determine whether the accused doctor, who has not been publicly identified, did indeed work at the public hospital, and whether his private clinic met required standards.
They will take interim measures as appropriate pending the results of a fact-finding probe.
Sukhum urged women to feel secure about having gynaecological check-ups at public or private hospitals because they provide a high standard of service, including requiring a female nurse to be present during the procedure.
Nakhon Sawan public health inspector Dr Boonchai Theerakan said the director of Sawan Pracharak Hospital had already summoned the accused doctor for an interview.
Although the alleged rape took place at the doctor’s private clinic, he must be investigated as a member of the civil service.
Medical Council secretary-general Dr Itthaporn Kanachareon said on Thursday his agency was prepared to investigate if the accuser so requests or if the council at its next meeting in in two weeks decides on its own to do so.
Actress-turned-activist Panadda Wongphudee, who reportedly brought the case to lawyer Saranya Wangsukcharoen, has meanwhile revealed that 10 more victims had since come to her with similar accusations and she could not see how the doctor could escape punishment.
Panadda made the comment in a recent Facebook post in which she criticised a police officer and reporters for revealing the identity of the original accuser.
She said the police officer in Muang Nakhon Sawan precinct, whom she did not name, showed the formal complaint sheet to reporters, who then published the alleged victim’s name.
Panadda said the invasion of privacy dealt a further blow to the accused, who already faced a prolonged court battle and derision from unsympathetic men and women.
She said her charity group would sue the policeman and the media outlets involved.