Medics banned from entering 'red zones'

The Emergency Medical Institute of Thailand has banned its medics from entering the dangerous "red zones", instructing them to wait outside for the violence in the clash areas to subside or the wounded to be brought out for medical help.

Institute chief Chatree Charoencheevakul said yesterday that death of an emergency medic from Vajira Hospital during Friday's skirmishes had shaken up the emergency officials.

The institute had proposed to buy 100 bulletproof vests but they wouldn't arrive in time for this conflict, he said.

The institute has offered Bt200,000 life insurance coverage for its 60,000 officials nationwide, with the institute contributing half of the Bt200 annual premium, he said.

But the official who was killed hadn't joined this project.

The official, identified as Boonthing Pansila, reportedly went on a motorcycle into the battle zone to assist the wounded but was shot in the neck, he said.

Going into the clash areas during gunfights was very risky, he said. The institute would consider contributing financial assistance to the dead official's family besides the Bt400,000 compensation from the government, he added.

Dr Wanchai Charoenchokthavee, director of Vajira Hospital, said he had ordered all ambulances and emergency personnel to withdraw from the protest site. He said that he was saddened by Boonthing's death on duty despite wearing the white emergency uniform and that the loss of one of their co-workers had demoralised the staff.


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