Friday, September 4, 2009

Friday, September 04, 2009
Doctors in Bangkok have ceased to provide special medication for a 58-yr-old Scots woman who suffered severe head injuries when she was mugged in a Bangkok street at on her 30th wedding anniversary at the weekend.

But they have refused to switch off life support systems for Lydia Riach from Inverness as it is against Thai law and the family's wishes.

Now children's charity worker Lydia from Inverness will be left to die naturally at the Police Hospital in Bangkok where she was admitted last Saturday.  The possibilities of a recovery remain slim.


Douglas Riach and son Roger at Bangkok Police Hospital

Husband Douglas Riach, 57, a former director of Inverness Caledonian Thistle football club said: 'I have received confirmation that Lydia no longer has brain stem function. The law denies the choice in terminating life support.
'She has been moved out of the Intensive Care Unit to a ward where life will continue, but medication will be capped. We anticipate a matter of days only, which is a blessing as she is gone already.'

The news was broken as the Lydia's son Roger, 34, an operations manager for Securitas in Glasgow, daughter Patricia 37, and their uncle Eddie Riach,flew into the Thai capital to be with her.

'They have arrived together and the family will be together for Lydia's last hours,' aded  Mr. Riach known to hisa friends as Dougie.

Son Roger said: 'It is a godsend that we have been able to get here in time to see our mother.  We would never order her life support to be shut off. She will go in her own good time.  But the prospects do not look good.  There has been no improvement in her condition.'

The mugging of Lydia in Bangkok's Sukhumvit Soi 22 has angered many expatriates who say they are beginning to fear for safety in the streets of Bangkok.

Regulars  from the 'Twenty Two 'bar, where 'Dougie' and Lydia used to go to watch Celtic matches, earlier in the week called on the police station at Thonglor in Bangkok to demand action over the attack.
Bar owner Ray McLaughlin, from Glasgow said: 'They were very concerned that the police wake up to the seriousness of this crime.'

A spokesman for Thonglor Police however said that a witness had now come forward and they would be issuing pictures of the suspects tomorrow (Friday). 'We are aware that if she dies this will become a murder investigation. However we have new information and are confident of making an arrest.'

But Douglas Riach said: 'If there is one thing I want to get across is that I do not blame Thailand or the Thais for this. It could happen in many places. The Thai people have been very kind and wonderful hosts to both Lydia and myself.


The spot where Lydia Riach was dragged to the ground

'Lydia's treatment in hospital has been caring and excellent. I do not find Bangkok a dangerous place, in fact it is safer than most, so I would not want people to say they are not coming to Thailand because of this event.

'She is a great woman. My best friend. My soulmate. It has been a privilege to have been her husband for 30 years.'
Lydia received her head injuries when she was dragged along a round by motor-cycle snatch these who grabbed her handbag, which was around her shoulder and neck, as they drove past. Her head smashed into the road.

Added Roger:  'Our mum was everybody's friend and a very cheerful person.  She loved her new life in Bangkok .  She was forever sending us cheerful emails.'

Mr. and Mrs Riach have been a popular couple in the expatriate community of the Thai capital. Douglas Riach first arrived in Bangkok two years ago and secured work as a sales consultant for Infinity, a financial consultancy, before Lydia flew out to join him.  Mrs Riach was due to start work helping children at a Bangkok orphanage before the attack.

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