BANGKOK, Thailand — Doctors at Bangkok Christian Hospital have said it will take time to assess the long-term effects on a Canadian photographer badly injured during the recent clashes in the Thai capital.
Chandler Vandergrift was hit by a grenade during clashes which started when the Thai army moved against the so-called Red Shirt demonstrators in Bangkok on Wednesday morning. Suffering from head and chest injuries he had neurosurgery when taken to the hospital as well as blood drained from his lung.
“Recovery time is needed to evaluate his neurological deficit,” said a statement from the hospital.
Currently semi-conscious, Chandler is breathing with help from a machine although the hospital expects he should be able to breathe by himself soon. It also noted that while he could move his left limbs, he had weakness over his right side.
Some of his friends are with him at the hospital and family members are said to be travelling from as far as India and Africa to join him.
Chandler, who is in his mid-30s, is originally from Calgary but was educated at the University of Victoria in British Columbia before doing graduate studies in conflict analysis and management at Royal Roads University, also in Victoria.
Moving to Bangkok several years ago, he made a living by a mixture of freelance journalism, documentary making and writing work with the Asia Foundation, a not-for-profit NGO which works for Asia’s development and prosperity.
One of the other projects he was involved with is a film titled “A Land Apart.”
It’s a documentary about the situation in Thailand’s deep south where a Muslim insurgency is both battling and being fuelled by the Bangkok government’s response. He is also co-authoring a book on the conflict along with local journalists.
Vandergrift is the second Canadian journalist covering the Red Shirt protests wounded in clashes in Thailand. Late last week Nelson Rand of Calgary was injured. His picture was published in one Canadian newspaper when he had a visit from a friend - Vandergrift.
The Red Shirts, drawn from Thailand’s rural poor in the north and east of the country, have accused the media of being biased towards the government.
Meanwhile the situation in Bangkok remains fraught.
As of Thursday afternoon, troops were in action mopping up pockets of resistance. Fires were still burning and the government has announced plans to keep a night time curfew in place for three more nights.