ONE A DAY
Editor’s note: The following is a submission by the American Legion Post TH02 in Pattaya Thailand. It focuses specifically on a US military combat veteran, however, gives a lot of insight behind the scenes into what happens in general when a foreign national passes away in Thailand. This is part one of four that we will post over the next week or so. -Adam Judd, Chief Editor, The Pattaya News English
On average one US citizen passes away in Thailand. ONE a day.
This death begins a series of events that involve many different individuals from a variety of organizations. For us, that day was 25 July 2022. On that day the ONE individual who passed away was a US Navy Combat Veteran. ONE US Veteran of the hundreds that die daily. I want to try and share our experience and involvement with this ONE US Veteran. We are members of the American Legion Post TH02 in Pattaya Thailand.
On the 25th of July, a US Navy Combat Veteran passed away quietly in his hotel room in Pattaya. That was the day the owner and wife of the hotel discovered our Veteran association. The hotel owners start this process with a call to the local Pattaya police.
A Pattaya police officer responded to the hotel. He immediately secured the room and called for an ambulance. The ambulance responded and transported our veteran to the nearest public hospital. The veteran arrives at the hospital where the attending physician makes the declaration of death.
The police officer in the meantime continues with his investigation. He searches through the personal possessions to establish an ID of the individual. He secures the veteran’s possessions and takes them to the police station to begin his task. The room is secured and the hotel staff is instructed to keep the room locked until he releases it.
After he arrives back at the station a call is made to the US Embassy in Bangkok to notify them of a death of a US citizen. The police officer makes his initial determination if any foul play is suspected and begins his police report. Foul play would require a more in-depth investigation as to the cause of death.
As the veteran was not under a doctor’s care the public hospital then arranges for the deceased to be transported to the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Bangkok for an autopsy to determine the official cause of death.
The US Embassy in Bangkok begins its involvement with the task of notifying the next of kin. After the notification, the Embassy provides the options to the family for the disposition of their family member. After the notification, a series of communication begins between the case officer at the embassy and the family. The family was provided a list of Thai mortuaries that would assist in the disposition. Unfortunately, this is an expensive option.
During the conversation, the family asked if there was any help that the VA could provide to get their son returned to the USA. This is where our participation began. The embassy provided the contact information for the American Legion Post TH02.
To be continued…