HCM City’s Cho Ray, 115, Gia Dinh, Children’s Hospital 1 & 2, Tumour and Binh Dan, and Hanoi’s K, Viet Duc and National Obstetrics hospitals have been at the centre of the problems, with warnings posted throughout at the waiting areas warning about potential pick-pocketing check-up areas of these hospitals.
Tight security at the Viet Duc Hospital
Mrs. L from Soc Trang Province took her relative to Cho Ray Hospital for an emergency. While waiting she fell victim to a confidence trickster who scammed her into leaving her bag with him. When she returned from having seen her relative, the man had disappeared, taking her bag with VND10 million (USD476) inside.
Theft remains a thorny issue at hospitals. Despite doctors and medical staff being aware that there are criminals operating on their premises they’ve done little to stop the problems. On occasions where they have taken action and had the perpetrators arrested, the thieves are confident enough to return following their release, and have threatened medical staff.
A notorious theft at Children’s Hospital No. 1 in HCM City is a woman named Khuong. A doctor said that three generations of her family act as pickpockets at the hospital. Guards know her, but she is difficult to catch red handed. She has been arrested but the prosecution didn’t proceed due to the small number of stolen goods she had in her possession.
Children’s Hospital 1 receives around 6,000 patients per day and Cho Ray Hospital some 4,500-4,700, therefore security remains a problem for the hospitals. Binh Dan Hospital has over 10 security guards, Children’s Hospital 1 has 20 and Cho Ray has 58, but they have failed to deal with the thieves.
Hanoi-based Viet Duc Hospital employs 105 guards to ensure 24-hour security. Hoang Trung Dong, head of the security team, said, in addition to theft and con artists, a number of people have been involved in assaults on patients and staff.
In late April, 25 year-old Nguyen Van T from Hanoi’s Long Bien District, was taken to the hospital after being stabbed in the stomach. When sent to the X-ray room, two men rushed in and shot him.
Lack of care
Head of Cho Ray Hospital’s guard team Tran Cu said the hospital had seized 60 thiefs in 2010 and 41 in 2011. Hospitals in the past used to stick photos of known thieves on their walls to warn people but have stopped since it was ruled to be illegal, so now noticed only offer general warnings.
Lieutenant Colonel To Quoc Dong, Deputy Head of Hang Bong Ward in Hanoi said, “crime has been a pressing issue at hospitals, causing public outrage, however, leaders of many hospitals have paid insufficient attention to the problem. We proposed they increase their security, but they say they have enough, plus the fines are too small to deal with the situation.”