Pattaya Hospital to probe claim of 15,000 baht fee to transport body of Covid-19 victim

Dragon Rescue volunteers carry the coffin containing the remains of Mrs. Pan Kaewhom to their ambulance for transport to a temple in Chonburi free of charge.

The director of Banglamung Hospital has pledged to investigate a claim that hospital staff conspired with an undertaker to charge 15,000 baht to transport the body of a Covid-19 victim to a local temple.

Natcha Kaewhom, 51, said July 14 that her mother Pan, 78, died of Covid-19. Banglamung Hospital told her that they outsourced hearse transportation and that the contractor charged 15,000 baht to take bodies to the temple. The undertaker also charged an extra 7,500 baht to prepare the body for the funeral.

Natcha – whose elder sister also died of Covid-19 while she and her daughter recovered from the coronavirus – said she was mortified at the price tag, calling the undertakers a “gang” preying on Covid-19 victims in a public Facebook post aimed at reporters.

She said that while she works in a department store, her hours have been cut for months amid the pandemic and she has many expenses. She feels that because her mother died of Covid-19 the government should cover the expense.

Stricken with grief, Natcha Kaewhom together with her family wait patiently for the kind hearted volunteers from the Thammaratsamee Maneerat Foundation to arrive to take her mother’s body to the temple in Chonburi at no cost.

Eventually, Thammaratsamee Maneerat Foundation of Angsila, Muang District offered to have its “Dragon Rescue” unit transport the body to Chonglom Temple in Chonburi at no cost and the temple agreed to do the cremation free as well.

Banglamung Hospital Director Narongsak Eakawattanakul said July 14 that he only just learned of Natcha’s case and said it was not the policy of the government facility to overcharge patients and their families. He promised to investigate the case.

The coffin containing the remains of Mrs. Pan Kaewhom is loaded onto the rescue unit’s ambulance for transportation to a temple in Chonburi.