Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Healthcare, Here and There

Hi. I'm still alive - though it was looking a little close for a while. Ok, not that close, but I was pretty sick most of the last week. Two days after getting back, I got some kind of lower respiratory infection and then had an asthma reaction to the infection - effectually causing my lungs to swell shut from the inside. Coupled with a one-oh-one fever and nasty chills and sudden sweats... you get the picture. It was a rough few days in bed.

Afraid I might be coming down with pneumonia, we went to a walk-in clinic over the weekend. Three-hundred dollars later, I was given a prescription that wasn't compatible with nursing and the doctor would. not. budge. on finding an acceptable alternative. She simply told me I could take her prescription and stop nursing or not take it. End of story. It was a frustrating day. I cried multiple times. Thank heaven (quite literally) for our regular doctor, who was more than willing to help us out and work around nursing requirements to find a reasonable solution. I'm feeling much better now.

But it made me all the more thankful for our Hong Kong healthcare experience. Gavrel had never been sick - a couple stuffy noses while teething, but nothing serious - until we arrived around the world. Our second full day there, poor little Monkey spiked a fever and was dripping green gunk from his little nose. It was a Sunday and pretty late in the day, but rather than wait, I opted to take him in somewhere rather than worry all night over every little noise he did or didn't make.

So we visited Evangel Hospital - which was originally founded by another G. Lagersen Addington. I think I could have appreciated the visit a little more if we were simply sight-seeing, rather than hauling in a sick baby. But pretty cool nonetheless. After filling out a half-sheet of paper and waiting about twenty minutes, we were ushered in to see a doctor who spoke English very well. She talked to us and checked out Gav for less than ten minutes before sending us with a diagnosis and prescription to the pharmacy. Ten more minutes of waiting and we had six medicines in hand (only two were really prescription strength - some antibiotics and antibiotic eye drops - the rest were over-the-counter feel-better things that they just filled for us there).

For an urgent-care walk-in visit at a hospital and six medications, we were charged HK$405 - or just over $50 US. And the whole process took less than two hours total.

Compared to my $400 (after medications) nightmare of a day on this side of the world, it was amazing. I realize not all health care in Hong Kong (or most of Asia) is ideal, but for easy routine things like sinus infections, it was a much more positive experience. Why have we made getting healthcare so complicated?

It also reminded me of how frustrated I am with how systematically impossible we have made it in the west to have children - but that's another rant. In the mean time, Gav and I are both feeling much better!


I really enjoye this post Katie! So sorry to hear you weren't feeling well, I have felt fed up with our medical system in the US many times in the past year - how interesting to compare it with what happens overseas. Especially what happened in the hospital grandpa started! :)

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