PRITA MULYA SARI
Hospital malpractice victim jailed for six months
Prita Mulya Sari ( born 1977), a bank worker and mother of two, was a patient at Omni International Hospital in Tangerang, west of Jakarta, from August 8 to 12, 2008. She was suffering from mumps, but a doctor misdiagnosed her illness as dengue fever and gave her the wrong treatment. After recovering at another hospital, Prita sent a letter of complaint to Omni International. She was unsatisfied with the response. On August 15, she wrote a private email to her friends, warning them about the doctor who misdiagnosed her and complaining the hospital’s customer service division had “no manners or ethics”. Her email was reposted on social media. Omni filed civil and criminal defamation charges against Prita in September 2008. She went on trial later that month at Tangerang District Court. On May 11, 2009, she lost the civil case and was ordered to pay damages of Rp312 million to the hospital. She appealed at Banten District Court, which reduced the amount to Rp204 million. She appealed to the Supreme Court, which overturned the verdict. But she was arrested and jailed on May 13, 2009, pending her criminal libel trial. Later placed under house arrest, she was acquitted in December 2009, but the Supreme Court in June 2011 sentenced her to six months in jail. In June 2012, the Supreme Court reversed its earlier verdict, absolving Prita of any wrongdoing. Omni Hospital has since dropped the “International” from its name. The three judges who convicted Prita are Zaharuddin Utama, Salman Luthan and Imam Harjadi Slamet.