The eye specialist at Ratanakkiri Referral Hospital who insulted and slapped a 56-year-old deaf, blind and mute Kreung indigenous woman has been suspended for a year without pay.

Separately, a dentist at Phnom Penh’s Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital has been suspended without supplemental benefits for six months for charging patients for his services.

The Ministry of Health additionally punished Nob Yum following internal discipline from her institution after the furore over the Ratanakkiri incident that saw her dubbed “the unethical nurse”.

Dentist Kruy Phereak’s conduct was described by the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital’s director as “in contrast to professional ethics”.

Phereak was suspended for six months without supplemental pay by Dr Ngy Meng, the director of the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital after its disciplinary council found him guilty of unprofessional conduct by charging patients.

Phereak’s actions were considered “in contrast to the hospital’s internal regulations and professional ethics, with such unprofessional conduct highly impacting the care of patients”, Dr Meng said in a letter dated July 23 and seen by The Post on Thursday.

Health Minister Mam Bun Heng suspended Yum, who worked at the Ratanakkiri Referral Hospital’s eye department, without salary from Thursday until to July 31 next year.

A letter from the health minister obtained by The Post on Thursday said Yum must reapply for her position two months before the end of her suspension.

“If the deadline is passed and she does not reapply for her job, it is considered that she has abandoned it,” Bun Heng said.

After the incident on July 23, in which female Kreung indigenous patient Pas Peal was slapped and insulted, the public dubbed Yum “the unethical nurse”.

Facebook user “For Cambodian People” said Peal, who is deaf, blind and mute, needed eye surgery. When her children took her to the Ratanakkiri Referral Hospital’s eye department they encountered Yum, who they said treated them rudely and unprofessionally.

“For Cambodian People” said “unethical nurse” Yum was “tiny and thin, but very insolent. She insulted the patient and her ethnic minority, calling them stupid. She slapped the patient in the face and dragged her by the legs as if she were dragging logs.”

Many other patients claimed she had regularly used violence and insulted patients, and had done so for some time, the Facebook user said.

However, Yum said her actions had been misunderstood. She said while explaining the medical procedure to the patient, she had made her sit properly by pulling her legs straight.

She said she then she tapped the patient on the jaw with her hand as a way to tell her to hold her head straight before instructing her to read the eye chart.

“I am aware that my activities may have caused confusion for the patient and her children. The misunderstanding and confusion came from the body language I used. This made them think I slapped the patient, but this is not true,” Yum was quoted as saying by the Khmer Note website.