Police in the Mekong Delta province of Ca Mau on Thursday arrested 16 people for breaking open and damaging the houses of local doctors while protesting their alleged irresponsibility in the death of a 17-year-old girl.
The group was charged with "disrupting public disorder," according to Le Thanh Son, chief of Nam Can District's Police Department.
On Tuesday afternoon (June 28), Duong Thi Thu Huyen, 17, of Nam Can Town was confirmed dead at the Nam Can General Hospital.
A local resident had previously found Huyen lying unconscious on a road with multiple injuries on her body at around 3 a.m. the same day and brought her to the hospital five hours later.
Her family said Huyen was in a coma when she was brought to the hospital Tuesday morning, but the doctors kept telling them she was okay.
"They told us to bring her home, even when I knelt down and begged them to save my granddaughter," Huyen's grandmother said in tears.
"I begged them to transfer her to a provincial hospital if the (Nam Can) hospital could not treat her, but the doctors kept saying she was okay."
Huyen's condition got worse at midnight and she died at around 4 a.m. on Wednesday.
Her family did not take her body for burial, but instead put the body on a cart and took it around town to protest the irresponsible actions of the doctors, making a large number of residents angry and demanding action against those responsible.
The family and relatives later gathered at the hospital and the district police station and demolished the gates of the offices.
The group later stormed into the houses of Dr Tran Thien Thanh, director of the Nam Can Hospital, and Dr Nguyen Duy Tu, who was on duty the day Huyen was taken to hospital.
The group smashed furniture in the two houses and took away some of their properties.
To Van Mung, deputy director of the hospital, said when the furious group stormed into the hospital to hunt down the doctor and nurses who were on duty the day Huyen died, many doctors were so frightened that they had to pretend to be patients.
Mung also admitted that Dr Tu and two nurses on duty Tuesday made a mistake as they did not fully examine the patient to detect the brain injury that led to Huyen's death.
However, he denied accusations by the family that Dr Tu and two nurses ignored a request to transfer her to a provincial hospital.
The Ca Mau Province Department of Health has suspended Dr Nguyen Duy Tu and two nurses for further investigations into the girl's death.
On Thursday, Nam Can District police also arrested 17-year-old Le Quoc Lo, who is suspected to have tried to rape Huyen on the evening of June 27, leading to her injuries.