Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: The dismissal en masse of Patong-based volunteer rescue workers by the Kusoldharm Foundation once again raises the need for better standards in emergency medical rescue services – not just in Patong, but across all of Phuket.

As a privately administered organization, the Kusoldharm Foundation has the right to dismiss volunteers whose conduct is inappropriate, but to terminate the services of all 33 volunteers without offering any public explanation is somewhat surprising.

The Kusoldharm Foundation is Phuket's largest and best-funded charity providing emergency services. (See story, this week's issue of the Phuket Gazette. Digital subscribers, click here to download the full newspaper.)

To be fired from a paid position is one thing, but to be told that services rendered free-of-charge will no longer be accepted is an affront, one that naturally raises questions about what, exactly, lies at the heart of the dispute between the organization and its former volunteers.

Both sides mention the possibility of a court case, but neither cares to reveal what charges might be laid – or against whom.

When the motivation for the actions of any group or individual come into question, it is generally a good idea to follow the money trail. Unfortunately, however, the Kusoldharm Foundation releases very little information about its management policies, decisions or finances.

Shedding some light on the issues involved is Kathu Police Superintendent Arayapan Pukbuakao, who charged the ex-volunteers with using their positions for their own personal benefit, such as by accepting payment for delivering patients to certain hospitals.

Col Arayapan also charged the ex-volunteers with having poor rescue skills that put accident victims at extra risk, tampering with evidence at accident scenes, and drug use.

He also says that valuables were often reported missing from accident scenes by foreign tourists who received assistance.

But there are always two sides to a story.

The director of Patong Hospital said he wasn’t aware of any problems arising from the volunteers’ work, while charges of involvement in illegal drug use have thus far been backed up with reference to a single case of marijuana possession.

There is no question that Kusoldharm will need to beef up its staff in Patong in time for the rapidly approaching high season, when the increase in the number of people on the ground, coupled with the various enjoyments they pursue, virtually guarantees a higher accident rate.

So recruiting and training new staff to meet the obvious and urgent need would be great – if it could be done in time.

The worst situation, one to be avoided at all costs, would be to allow two rival rescue groups to operate on the same turf. Patong has enough problems as it is, so violent confrontations between rival rescue services, all too frequent in other parts of Thailand, would not be welcome in Phuket.
– Phuket Gazette

1

Why should 'rescue' be a volunteer service? Surely there is enough money generated by the tourism industry to support a proper and professionally run organization.

If tour operators start to advertise this item, it will be damaging publicity at worst and embarrassing at best.

Posted by Logic November 7, 2010 01:12:46PM

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2

While there is no way of knowing what is going on here or who is to blame, it does seem a very strange act for a voluntary organization. I agree – follow the money trail and you will discover the truth.

Posted by littlechang November 7, 2010 01:24:44PM

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4

I had the misfortune to witness a shooting in Phuket 5 years ago and saw first hand how inadequate the emergency services in Phuket are. The hospital had no surgeon available and no blood on hand for a transfusion. And IF the doctors there were competent, why would they shift every serious case over to another hospital?

Good luck and have insurance.

Posted by tom November 7, 2010 04:46:45PM

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5

We have good hospitals but between 8:00 and 11:00 or 3:30 and 18:00 the roads are blocked and no cars move for the ambulance.I saw this today in kathu 2 times. When there is a big problem people die before they get to hospital because there is no respect for ambulances and police!

Posted by donald November 7, 2010 06:07:11PM

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6

"To be fired from a paid position is one thing, but to be told that services rendered free-of-charge will no longer be accepted is an affront..."

This suggests the author believes volunteers providing a professional service should be held to a lower standard than paid employees. This of course is not true. The behavior, training and patient care provided should be to the same standard, paid or not.

Posted by ScubaBuddha November 7, 2010 07:53:38PM

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7

Seems kinda like another case of lack of services due to personal profits being placed above basic infrastructure somewhere along the chain yet again.

Everyone out for themselves explains why well funded modern EMT services aren't a standard in Phuket as well as why people don't pull over or move for ambulances headed for the hospital as well as why some people claim to have lost valuables at the hands of rescue workers.

Posted by john November 7, 2010 08:59:06PM

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9

It's par for the course to me. Welcome to Thailand.

Posted by goggsie November 7, 2010 10:03:21PM

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10

While there is no way of knowing what is going on here or who is to blame, it does seem a very strange act for a voluntary organization. I agree – follow the money trail and you will discover the truth.

Posted by littlechang

There may not be a money trail at all. Most decent people with a modicum of decency will give volunteer workers some type of compensation usually commensurate with the difficulty/danger/benefit to the type of service being offered.

I had a cobra removed from my house by a snake catcher and, yes, he was rewarded handsomely. Probably to the tune of two weeks wages for a half hour work.

Or, I could be completely wrong and someone is on the take. These are after all human beings.

Posted by tonglen November 8, 2010 08:14:10AM

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11

In general (from my experience) most of those 'volunteers' (do they get paid or not?) have little if any knowledge in handle accidented people. The simple way they move people is without any care (but the speed of doing so) and could (certainly) cause death or over accident (it's how it's named in my country). Add to that the potential use of drugs (marijuana for one at least as owner) make their removal a necessity if this is true.

Posted by sting01 November 8, 2010 09:53:59AM

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12

What, aren´t there any well equipped ambulances in Phuket? It cant be possible that there are no professional paramedics at the scene of an accident or any life threatening situation.

Are there paramedic-helicopter services? What if someone gets a heart attack, how does that man get professional first-aid on the scene?

Posted by Wonderer November 8, 2010 04:43:44PM

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14

No question that there is more to this story and I hope the truth comes out.

My wife and I are always shocked when we see an ambulance and no one pulls over to let them through. One of the most basic rules of the road, this can be life or death and the selfishness in the attitudes of local drivers amazes us.

Posted by Steve November 9, 2010 12:08:35AM

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16

What, aren´t there any well equipped ambulances in Phuket? It cant be possible that there are no professional paramedics at the scene of an accident or any life threatening situation.

Are there paramedic-helicopter services? What if someone gets a heart attack, how does that man get professional first-aid on the scene?

Posted by Wonderer

As Abba was singing in the 70's Money,money,money.

Sorry to seem so bitter, and not appreciative of the wonderful paradise where I live; but I have a heart condition.

Posted by sting01 November 9, 2010 08:27:07AM

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0    0

16

What, aren´t there any well equipped ambulances in Phuket? It cant be possible that there are no professional paramedics at the scene of an accident or any life threatening situation.

Are there paramedic-helicopter services? What if someone gets a heart attack, how does that man get professional first-aid on the scene?

Posted by Wonderer

As Abba was singing in the 70's Money,money,money.

Sorry to seem so bitter, and not appreciative of the wonderful paradise where I live; but I have a heart condition.

Posted by sting01 November 9, 2010 08:27:07AM

Reply

0    0

14

No question that there is more to this story and I hope the truth comes out.

My wife and I are always shocked when we see an ambulance and no one pulls over to let them through. One of the most basic rules of the road, this can be life or death and the selfishness in the attitudes of local drivers amazes us.

Posted by Steve November 9, 2010 12:08:35AM

Reply

0    0

12

What, aren´t there any well equipped ambulances in Phuket? It cant be possible that there are no professional paramedics at the scene of an accident or any life threatening situation.

Are there paramedic-helicopter services? What if someone gets a heart attack, how does that man get professional first-aid on the scene?

Posted by Wonderer November 8, 2010 04:43:44PM

Reply

0    0

11

In general (from my experience) most of those 'volunteers' (do they get paid or not?) have little if any knowledge in handle accidented people. The simple way they move people is without any care (but the speed of doing so) and could (certainly) cause death or over accident (it's how it's named in my country). Add to that the potential use of drugs (marijuana for one at least as owner) make their removal a necessity if this is true.

Posted by sting01 November 8, 2010 09:53:59AM

Reply

0    0

10

While there is no way of knowing what is going on here or who is to blame, it does seem a very strange act for a voluntary organization. I agree – follow the money trail and you will discover the truth.

Posted by littlechang

There may not be a money trail at all. Most decent people with a modicum of decency will give volunteer workers some type of compensation usually commensurate with the difficulty/danger/benefit to the type of service being offered.

I had a cobra removed from my house by a snake catcher and, yes, he was rewarded handsomely. Probably to the tune of two weeks wages for a half hour work.

Or, I could be completely wrong and someone is on the take. These are after all human beings.

Posted by tonglen November 8, 2010 08:14:10AM

Reply

0    0

9

It's par for the course to me. Welcome to Thailand.

Posted by goggsie November 7, 2010 10:03:21PM

Reply

0    0

7

Seems kinda like another case of lack of services due to personal profits being placed above basic infrastructure somewhere along the chain yet again.

Everyone out for themselves explains why well funded modern EMT services aren't a standard in Phuket as well as why people don't pull over or move for ambulances headed for the hospital as well as why some people claim to have lost valuables at the hands of rescue workers.

Posted by john November 7, 2010 08:59:06PM

Reply

0    0

6

"To be fired from a paid position is one thing, but to be told that services rendered free-of-charge will no longer be accepted is an affront..."

This suggests the author believes volunteers providing a professional service should be held to a lower standard than paid employees. This of course is not true. The behavior, training and patient care provided should be to the same standard, paid or not.

Posted by ScubaBuddha November 7, 2010 07:53:38PM

Reply

0    0

5

We have good hospitals but between 8:00 and 11:00 or 3:30 and 18:00 the roads are blocked and no cars move for the ambulance.I saw this today in kathu 2 times. When there is a big problem people die before they get to hospital because there is no respect for ambulances and police!

Posted by donald November 7, 2010 06:07:11PM

Reply

0    0

4

I had the misfortune to witness a shooting in Phuket 5 years ago and saw first hand how inadequate the emergency services in Phuket are. The hospital had no surgeon available and no blood on hand for a transfusion. And IF the doctors there were competent, why would they shift every serious case over to another hospital?

Good luck and have insurance.

Posted by tom November 7, 2010 04:46:45PM

Reply

0    0

2

While there is no way of knowing what is going on here or who is to blame, it does seem a very strange act for a voluntary organization. I agree – follow the money trail and you will discover the truth.

Posted by littlechang November 7, 2010 01:24:44PM

Reply

0    0

1

Why should 'rescue' be a volunteer service? Surely there is enough money generated by the tourism industry to support a proper and professionally run organization.

If tour operators start to advertise this item, it will be damaging publicity at worst and embarrassing at best.

Posted by Logic November 7, 2010 01:12:46PM

Reply

0    0

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