RATCHABURI — A woman in Ratchaburi province on Tuesday said she called an emergency hotline to seek help for her dying father, only to be mocked by the operator who hung up on her.
Pronrawin Ongpisut said she was at the side of her father, who was struggling to breathe, when she called the hotline 1669 on Sunday morning. Pronrawin said the operator made an inaudible response and mimicked the sound of telephone calls, but the agency responsible said the incident was a misunderstanding.
“On my third call, a man who picked up the phone said ‘I can’t hear you’ before making the ‘beep beep’ sound and hanging up,” Pronrawin wrote on her Facebook post. “I’m not angry about the ambulance arriving late, but the personnel who picked up the phone and teased me while the patient was dying. Is it appropriate?”
The ambulance arrived minutes later, but her father, Pisut Ongpisut, died at the hospital the same day, she said. Pronrawin has filed a complaint to Ratchaburi Hospital, demanding the personnel in question grovel before her father’s body in apology.
But hospital director Pichien Wuttisatirapinyo said Tuesday that the operator did not intend to make fun of the emergency.
What happened was likely a misunderstanding since the patient’s relative might have been stressed at that moment, he said.
“I understand that the patient’s relative was anxious as she was worried about her father, so some of the words she heard might have been unsettling,” Pichien said. “The operator was very sorry about the misunderstanding.”
The operator, whose name was withheld, also attended the funeral at a temple in Ratchaburi province together with the hospital’s management on Tuesday afternoon.
He spent about five minutes talking to Pronrawin in private, after which she said the man apologized for what happened.
Pronrawin said the man was unable to hear her voice, while the beep sound she heard came from the indistinct sentence which the man said ‘he could only hear beep beep.’
“An apology was made and there’s no more dispute,” Pronrawin said. “I just want an apology and clarification from him. My father will be cremated this Thursday so I want everything to be settled.”