Don't believe the palace
Thailand's monarchy has never told the truth when royals face a health crisis. The latest lies about Princess Bajrakitiyabha are part of the same grim pattern.
Early today, Thailand’s palace released a third update on the health of Princess Bajrakitiyabha, nicknamed Ong Bha, who collapsed at a Royal Thai Army dog training event in Pak Chong district northeast of Bangkok on December 14.
The statement was actually quite honest compared to most royal health announcements over the past couple of centuries, and seems to be designed to prepare Thais for the news that she is dead.
It confirmed that she has never regained consciousness since her health emergency and also indirectly confirmed once again that she is being kept artificially alive by medical devices.
As I have been reporting since December 14, the day Bajrakitiyabha died according to any sensible definition of what it means to die, she is brain dead but her body is being kept alive by an ECMO machine, which is used to treat people with profound heart and lung failure, by circulating and oxygenating blood outside the body.
You can see the latest statement here:
Although the statement confirms what I have been reporting for weeks — she has never regained consciousness and is being kept alive by machines — there is still some untrue information.
Strangely it claims that her health emergency was caused by acute heart arrhythmia due to inflammation after a mycoplasma infection.
In fact, as I reported last month, from information from excellent royal and medical sources, the princess suffered a brain aneurysm causing a massive subarachnoid haemorrhage.
What this means is that a narrowed or weakened artery in Ong Bha's brain had caused a balloon of blood to accumulate at the weak point in the artery. This had probably been going on for several years but because it didn't cause any apparent symptoms nobody would have known about it. Meanwhile the balloon was silently but relentlessly growing and sooner or later it was bound to burst.
The princess unknowingly had a ticking time bomb in her brain, and on December 14 it exploded. Her skull was flooded with blood, which in turn caused cardiac and respiratory arrest.
I don’t know why the latest statement is still saying the problem is an issue with her heart, but I assume it’s because the first palace health bulletin, on December 15, said Bajrakitiyabha had collapsed because of a heart problem and the Thai palace refuses to ever admit it was wrong about anything, so they have to maintain the fiction that it was a heart condition that caused this tragedy.
But this is not true. It was a brain aneurysm and she will never wake up. She is brain dead.
Here is the December 15 bulletin from the palace, which the regime will be desperate to avoid contradicting, even though it is not correct:
So don’t believe the palace, they always just lie, over and over again. The truth is that Bajrakitiyabha had a brain aneurysm and will never get better.
But the regime is desperate to cover this up, for the moment. The Ministry of Digital Economy and Society has even threatened to prosecute people for computer crimes just for sharing the truth.
There is a huge royalist propaganda campaign under way to get people to pray for her recovery, which will never happen. Soldiers and civil servants are being ordered to hold ceremonies to exhort help from the heavens, and people are being told to temporarily ordain as monks to save the princess.
Even though palace health bulletins are never honest, they usually have some clues we can decode. They always try to claim that the condition of whatever royal has had a health issue is getting better. They have not even tried to do that with Princess Bajrakitiyabha. The bulletins are just preparing Thais for the news that she is dead.
Meanwhile, there were strange scenes at the massive Blackpink concert in Bangkok last night, with the king’s older sister Ubolratana ostentatiously partying while her niece is brain dead in hospital.
This evening, the palace held a ceremony for the 36th birthday of Princess Sirivannavari, half-sister of Bajrakitiyabha and tried to pretend everything was fine.
This whole story is just really sad, and as I have said before, I never had any animosity against the princess. I’m not writing about this to mock the royal family, nobody should celebrate the death of Bajrakitiyabha, but Thai people deserve to know the truth and it’s my job as a journalist to report what has happened.
For Secret Siam subscribers, here’s some more analysis of why you can never believe any health bulletin from the palace.