Local official fined $13 for threatening doctors with plastic stool in central Vietnam

By Nguyen Hai   October 26, 2017 | 08:22 pm PT
The nominal fine was issued after police deemed he was only guilty of causing a 'public disturbance.'

Authorities in the central town of Vinh have disciplined and fined a ward leader VND300,000 ($13) for his involvement in an assault against two local doctors.

Nguyen Xuan Huan, chairman of Trung Do Ward, was disciplined on Thursday after videos of him yelling at doctors at 115 Nghe An Hospital while holding a plastic stool appeared on social media in August.

While Huan did not assault the doctors and eventually tried to mediate, a police investigation concluded that he had caused a public disturbance, resulting in the VND300,000 fine.

The main assailant Nguyen Hoang Dinh Thang, director of a local construction company, was fined VND3.6 million ($158) for slapping and threatening the doctors.

According to the investigation, one of Thang's employees and Huan's nephew Nguyen Van Nam had been involved in a traffic accident and were rushed to 115 Nghe An Hospital on August 18. Vinh is the capital city of Nghe An Province.

While Nam was still waiting to have his broken cheekbone x-rayed, Thang rushed into the emergency room and lashed out at the doctors for what he said was neglecting his employee.

He then slapped Dr. Hoang Thi Minh multiple times while insulting her, and pushed Le Quang Hoa, a nurse, when he tried to intervene. Thang also allegedly threatened to have thugs attack the doctors and to shut down the hospital.

Huan, the ward leader who was visiting Nam, then heard Thang's version of events and angrily blamed the doctor responsible for "neglecting" his nephew to come out while holding a plastic stool. The incident only ended after police arrived to restore order.


A still image from the video clip shows Huan holds a red plastic stool while pointing and yelling at the doctors. 

Assaults against doctors, mostly by friends and relatives of patients, are becoming more common in Vietnam, posing yet another issue for the country's embattled health ministry.

In May, around 20 men armed with knives and machetes broke into the Hanoi Medical University Hospital and attacked a patient and threatened doctors. Another doctor at the Hanoi Sports Hospital was beaten in June after the assailants accused him of wrongly diagnosing their son.

In July, doctors at Ninh Binh Province General Hospital were also insulted by a patient's co-worker who accused them of neglecting the patient and assaulted the hospital's security guards when they intervened.

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