First Thai doctor dies from Covid

A doctor from Mahasarakham province became the first Thai physician to die from the coronavirus on Thursday.

Dr Panya Hanphanitphan, 66, was treating three infected patients at his clinic in Mahasarakham when he contracted the virus.

He was the 18th confirmed case in the north-eastern province since the second wave of the outbreak began in December, 2020. He died at the Srinagrind Hospital in Khon Kaen at 1.19 am on Thursday morning.

His death was announced on the Facebook page Eang Teck Tung (Khun Viro Kusolsongkhro Foundation), a charity foundation co-founded by Dr Panya based in Mahasarakham.

On 25 January, Dr Panya treated a patient with a high fever at his clinic before transferring the patient to a nearby respiratory disease unit. After learning that the patient was infected with the coronavirus on 28 January, the doctor closed his clinic and went into self-isolation.

Dr Panya tested negative on 29 January but positive on February 1, after he felt muscle pain and feverish.

The doctor’s health deteriorated after he was admitted to the Mahasarakham Hospital before being transferred to the Srinagrind Hospital in Khon Kaen.

Dr Panya Hanphanitphan worked at the Mahasarakham Hospital before opening his own clinic in the Talat Subdistrict. He was also the co-founder and advisor of the volunteer medical unit and the paramedic-emergency medical services rescue unit under Eang Teck Tung, Khun Viro Kusolsongkhro Foundation.

With Dr Panya, the country has lost its first front-line responder in the battle against the pandemic.

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