Fellow Since 2008
Thai Medical Error Network-TMEN
This profile was prepared when Preeyanan Lorsermvattana was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2008.
The New Idea
Preeyanan has organized Thailand’s first cross-sector network of medical malpractice victims, doctors, lawyers, media, and consumer activists into a collective force that is having a measurable impact on public health policy, the judicial system, public opinion, and the standards of the country’s healthcare institutions and medical profession. Herself the victim of an emotionally and financially devastating medical malpractice, Preeyanan endured a decade-long struggle against a legal system which favors medical institutions over individual patients. In response, she has pioneered a process for other victims to use in their battles for legal redress and is driving a movement for systemic change. In a society where doctors are held in high esteem and rarely challenged, and access to medical records and other fundamental patients’ rights are not guaranteed, Preeyanan’s Thai Medical Error Network (TMEN) connects victims to medical experts, legal advisors, and a support network of peers to help them gain access to justice. Preeyanan’s network is increasing the visibility of this once-hidden problem by leveraging the power of local print and broadcast media to spread the stories of victim struggles to the public, as well as lecturing about medical error to cadres of medical students. His goal is to create a more socially responsible medical profession that is held to account by an empowered populace. Expanding on the work of a successful Thai consumer rights movement initiated by Ashoka Fellow Saree Aongsomwang, Preeyanan has successfully advocated for the introduction of patients’ rights legislation in the Thai Parliament. This is a solid step towards achieving her vision of codifying a patients’ bill of rights into Thai law and establishing an independent and neutral body to monitor the medical profession.