August 24, 2023
BANGKOK – The Police General Hospital’s chief insisted on Wednesday that former PM Thaksin Shinawatra was not getting any special privileges.
Thaksin is being closely monitored by a team of six doctors after he was rushed to hospital early on Wednesday.
Pol Lt-General Soponrat Singhajaru, the hospital’s director-general, denied Thaksin had been placed in a VIP ward on the 14th floor of a 20-storey building.
He said Thaksin had actually been placed in a non-airconditioned room on the 14th floor, where Covid-19 patients were once treated.
“Air-conditioning on that floor is out of order, so two fans are being used for ventilation,” he said.
Soponrat also insisted that Thaksin’s room does not have a good view of the city either, because rooms on that side got direct sunlight and heated up during the day.
He said the Royal Thai Police had not been informed in advance of Thaksin being admitted to hospital, adding that his transfer was an emergency.
He said Thaksin suddenly developed chest pain and had low oxygen readings. His blood pressure was also very high and he had been taken to the hospital ward of the Bangkok Remand Prison on his first night behind bars.
“Doctors at the prison hospital tried to bring down his blood pressure but failed, so they decided to send him urgently to the Police Hospital in the middle of the night,” Soponrat said.
He added that medical staff at the prison hospital are capable, but Thaksin’s condition required specialist care and advanced medical equipment.
According to a deal made more than three decades ago, the Police Hospital receives inmates who require emergency care.
When Thaksin arrived at the Police Hospital, his systolic blood pressure reading had risen to 170mmHG, so he had to be placed in the ward on the 14th floor immediately, the hospital chief said.
Thaksin was immediately given a saline drip and placed under the care of lungs, heart and Covid-19 specialists.
The former PM is not handcuffed because the law does not require inmates below 16 and above 70 years old to be cuffed, Soponrat added.
He said the medical team was in the process of getting Thaksin’s medical records from his hospital overseas to ensure he was getting the correct treatment.
He added that three officials from the Corrections Department have been deployed to watch over Thaksin while he is being treated. As of now, he said, he cannot tell how long the former PM will be in hospital.
Pathumwan Police Station will provide security for the building where Thaksin is being accommodated, he added.
Soponrat said he had learned that Thaksin’s condition has improved slightly, but he still requires oxygen as his blood pressure is still high and he is out of breath.
No visits are allowed at present, he said, adding that it was up to the Corrections Department to decide whether Thaksin could be moved to a private hospital.