Thai hospital denies ripping off injured British actor

The Sun reported his nightmare was compounded by medics there having demanded £13,000 a night to treat him — forcing him to transfer to another hospital.

Hospitals in Koh Samui have denied charging a British actor ‘tens of thousands of pounds’ for accident treatment as reported by the British media, saying the information ‘might have been mixed up.’

The Sun reported on Tuesday that Paul Nicholls, 38, whose real name is Gerrard Paul Greenhalgh, was rescued three days after falling from the top of Khun Si waterfall on Koh Samui and smashing his leg.

The Sun incorrectly reported that Samui International Hospital demanded £13,000 (567,000 baht) a night to treat him – forcing him to transfer to another hospital.

Another international hospital – Thai International Samui Hospital – on Thursday clarified the matter on Facebook, saying it sent a team to rescue Nicholls.

“Mr Nicholls was transferred to Koh Samui Hospital which is a state-run hospital, and the reported figure of the medical bill was misapprehended since ‘13,000 per night’ and ‘90,000 operation cost’ was in fact the cost in Thai baht, not British pounds,” the post reads.

Thai International Samui Hospital medical director Dulyakit Wittayajanyapong was quoted as saying: “After Mr Nicholls’ condition was examined, we found an open wound on his right knee.

His kneecap was also broken and about to rot after it was submerged in the water for two and a half days. We then informed him that the estimated cost of an operation would be around 500,000 baht.

“Mr Nicholls couldn’t afford the cost, so he requested to be transferred to Koh Samui Hospital,” Mr Dulyakit said, adding Mr Nicholls’ initial treatment which cost 46,000 baht has not yet been paid.

Teerasak Viriyanon, director of Koh Samui Hospital, said the doctor cleaned his wounds with antiseptic and prepared him for kneecap replacement surgery. The cost of his initial treatment was 43,831 baht.

“We informed him that if he were to undertake the surgery and be hospitalised here for several more days, the estimated cost would be around 100,000 baht,” he said.

He was found semi-conscious after a villager spotted a motorbike the actor had used to travel to the remote spot on the island.

The actor was on holiday after finishing filming for the Channel 4 series Ackley Bridge, the BBC reported. He contacted the British embassy in Bangkok, and is scheduled to fly back to the UK next week, the BBC reported on Tuesday.

The first TV appearance by Nicholls – real name Paul Greenhalgh – first TV appearance was aged 10 in Granada Television show Children’s Ward but he came to prominence in long-running BBC soap EastEnders.

His EastEnders character Joe Wicks lived with schizophrenia, and the popular soap opera was praised for its portrayal of mental health on-screen. – Bangkok Post

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