I have nothing but great things to say about the Sihanouk Hospital! They have filled a void after the genocide in Cambodia when doctors and educated people were targeted and killed. They have provided free health care to over one million patients and continue to do more. I visited the hospital myself and know that it is a hospital that can be trusted by the people of Cambodia.
I have been the sole care-giver for a poor sick Cambodian friend for almost six years and my friend has been treated on an in-patient and out-patient basis at Sihanouk Hospital Center of HOPE (SHCH) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia for almost five years now.
Overall the hospital provides a good service treating poor Cambodians for free. However the hospital has some very serious problems and has repeatedly violated Cambodian Ministry of Health Guidelines aimed at protecting and promoting patients’ rights.
Chief among the problems at SHCH is their very poor handling of complaints and other forms of constructive feedback given by patients and caregivers. The hospital does not have a very enlightened view of the value of complaints and has stated that they see them as destructive, unhelpful and disruptive. This uninformed view is in stark contrast to widely accepted best-practice methods and models that place a high value on complaints as a key driver of ongoing healthcare quality improvement.
Some of the problems that my friend and I have had at Sihanouk Hospital Center of HOPE are as follows:
1) SHCH has violated a patient’s right to confidentiality and privacy.
2) SHCH has repeatedly refused to provide a patient with a complete copy of the patient’s medical records as requested and required The medical records policy cited by SHCH recently is in my opinion unethical, in violation of Cambodian and American law and in violation of internationally accepted medical ethics.
3) SHCH has from time-to-time unreasonably discriminated against my friend by insisting that only Cambodians accompany my friend to the hospital. This is a clear form of racial discrimination that is prohibited by law. All other patients seem to be allowed to freely exercise their right to have anyone they choose to accompany them, regardless of race, economic status, religion, skin color, or national origin.
4) SHCH has from time-to-time violated my friend’s right to have a specific designated caregiver accompany and visit him/her at the hospital to provide needed care and comfort.
5) SHCH has from time-to-time violated my friend’s right to complain and provide feedback and have it accepted as constructive feedback as required by Cambodia’s Ministry of Health. They have also violated my friend’s and my right to free speech by taking vindictive and retributive action against us in retaliation for our polite expression of opinions bwhile the patient was and at the hospital seeking medical treatment. They threatened my friend with discontinuation of required life-saving medical treatment. They have also placed my friend in a position of increased health risk by refusing to provide essential information about that would empower me as a caregiver.
7) SHCH has repeatedly violated my friend’s right to be fully informed about a medical condition and to have a designated caregiver be fully informed about health status, diagnosis, treatment, prognosis, dietary restrictions, what to do in case of emergency, etc.
8) SHCH has many times, in repeated demonstrations of bad-faith, refused to listen to complaints and to engage in constructive dialogue with my friend and I concerning our legitimate concerns. In fact, SHCH has, from time-to-time, maliciously spread completely untrue stories about me in what clearly appears to be a bad-faith effort to demonize, vilify and defame me.
I do recommend that people donate money to the hospital to support their good work, but I also recommend that all donors let the hospital know that they must put an end to the many problems that I’ve identified.
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Review from Guidestar