Readers' Submissions

Medical Care In Thailand



Talking about medical treatment in Thailand, my report should not be missing on this page. Let’s start with a bit of background first. I used to live in LOS for more than a year in total. I spent about 6 months with Thaibox-training and Thai language courses in Chiang Mai and Petchabun and another 6 months for travelling in Thailand with frequent short trips to other countries in SE-Asia.

I experienced my first medical treatment in the first week when I was in Thailand. I just arrived from Singapore where I had caught a nasty cold. Finally the worst thing was that I could hardly swallow and my tonsils were strongly inflamed (angina). I was lying in the hotel room like a dying dog without knowing anybody, who could have given me a hand. After another 24 hours went by, there was still no sign of improvement. I was in no mood to leave my hotel room. I called the room service to get a soup or a hot tea delivered to my room from time to time. I could tell from miles away, that the bell-boy was gay and he seemed to be very glad whenever he could bring anything to my room. Whenever he came in the room, my sickness seemed to be a little problem comparing with having this gay guy in my room. After lying in the hotel room for two days I decided to make a phone call to the reception of the Bumrungrad hospital at Sukhumvit 3 (soi nana nua).

After a 30 minutes drive from the hotel, I finally arrived at the hospital and was approached to the registration counter. The registration was done in no time and I saw a doctor 10 minutes later. Wow, that was quick, I thought. The doctor recommended me to stay for a couple of nights as I had no one in BKK who could look after me. Then the things started get more interesting. A nurse handed over a list of available rooms to choose from. The list started with a 4 bed dormitory and ended with a royal king suite. I didn’t feel like to share a room with other patients and I was in no mood either to save some money for my insurance company. After a deposit form my credit card was taken, I had been asked whether they should carry me to the room or if I wanted to walk. Even though I felt really sick at this time, I decided to walk. The room presented was a single spacious room with couch, TV, fridge, video, pay TV and lots more.

The nurses made me ready to bed. Somehow the nurses seemed to like me coz I didn’t know the reason why sometimes I had up to 5 nurses in my room at the same time, I also noticed a chatty undertone when they were talking and I couldn’t understand any words in Thai at this time. The only thing I wanted was to be alone in my room. It was getting better and better after the liquid antibiotics started kicking in. After two days I could leave the hospital and was very impressed about the service I got here. I don’t remember exactly how much I paid for this stay, but will talk about medical costs at Bumrungrad hospital later in this submission.

3 weeks later my tonsils got sore again and this time I went to see a doctor in the very beginning I didn’t want to spend another two days alone in a hotel room. I took a taxi to the hospital and asked for an appointment with the same doctor. As the registration was already done, the total waiting time to see my doctor was less then 15 minutes. I got some antibiotics and some vitamin C pills again to make my tonsils relief. I was not very glad to hear that the doctor wanted to give me another antibiotic treatment as people in Switzerland try to take as little as possible of this medicine. The doctor told me that many foreigners but also Thais do get a sore throat quite often due to the humidity, the heat and the air conditioners.

It was really annoying, coz I wanted to get ready to join a Thai boxing camp. All these incidents threw me back. I had to take antibiotics 4 times within 3 months and could not join a boxing camp. During that time, I left Thailand a few times to other countries in SE Asia. But also in places like Taiwan I got sick and had to look for a hospital to get some medication. It was a good opportunity to check out and compare different hospitals in many different places, but was really not my intention. In Taiwan I decided to fly back home to get my tonsils surgically removed. It was the only possible way to get rid of that sickness problem. 3 weeks later I flew back to Bangkok and was ready to join a boxing camp. I have to say that now I wouldn’t have flown back to Switzerland for that kind of surgery. I really believe in an excellent medical care in some hospitals in Bangkok. I’m not competent enough to judge how good some doctors are if it goes to the complicated things. I think it does depend on the field. Unlike in many western countries, surgeries and other medical treatments are readily available in Thailand if the funds are granted. I know that nearly all doctors from the best ranked private hospitals in BKK graduated in Europe or the US. The Bumrungrad is Asia’s 1st internationally accredited hospital and is in the joint commission of the United States.

After a few months of training, I had something called “shin splint”. It’s a result from the daily 10 kilometre runs on the toes. Many Westerner are not used to this running technique and tend to get it easily. Anyway, I could continue with the training, I just had to stop skipping and had to reduce the length of the runs. I decided to see once again my doctor at Bumrungrad and asked for advice. She immediately sent me to an orthopaedist who told me that I should get my bone scanned for further examinations. I needed two more appointments to get things done and to talk about the results. The doctor gave me a very competent impression. I was told that the bone-scanning machines were the latest models from Switzerland. As in other sections of the hospital, there were always plenty of nurses around and all the procedure steps were very rational unlike other places in Thailand. The waiting time between the different treatments were always short and all the appointments were held in time.

I know from my local friends that the Bumrungrad hospital is probably the most expensive one in BKK. I personally think that the service is really excellent. The hospital is equipped with the latest technique and you can find all sort of medical care under one roof. The nurses and the doctors are very friendly and they are trying their best to offer a good service. They are also willing to give some advice through the telephone and sometimes there is no need to show up to ask a simple question.

Let’s talk about the costs. The doctor fee is normally between 500 and 600 Baht per visit. They add about 50 Baht for facility costs and another small amount for the nurses. The medicine creates another line on the bill. The total cost for the bone scanning (nothing to do with x-ray) and two extra visits were 4500 Baht, absolutely reasonably priced for me. For a complete eye check at Bumrungrad hospital I had to pay 1000 Baht straight (prescription included). A physical therapy for my shins (45 min.) was 800 Baht.

The Bumrungrad hospital is without doubt a hospital with very high standard. It is surely more expensive than other places, but the service is excellent.

During my stay in Thailand I wanted to have removed my wisdom teeth. My girlfriend recommended the Yanhee hospital (Charansanitwong Rd. next to Rama 7 Bridge) to be well known for good dental medicine. I checked it out and made an appointment. Again, waiting time was less then 20 minutes. People wait between 6 and 12 weeks to get an appointment in Switzerland (no kidding). I later found out that the Yanhee hospital is also specialized and very well known for all kind of plastic surgeries. There are 24 treatment centres in this complex. While I was waiting, I have spotted some katoeys who were about to leave the hospital. I also read in a leaflet that a full sex change (an extreme transsexual surgery) can be done in 5 days for about $ 3,500. Auchhhh!! I was only interested to get my wisdom teeth removed as I am still happy being a straight one. The service for that was excellent. The equipment in particular the x-ray machines had a very modern look. I had to go there two times as they only remove two wisdom teeth at the same time. I paid around 1,400 Baht each time which was about 10 times cheaper then in Switzerland. Members of my family got some crowns and in-lanes done at Yanhee hospital and were talking very highly about the result, the service the friendliness and the costs. The Yanhee hospital is definitely an extraordinary place that I can recommend for any kind of tooth and root-canal treatments.

Stickman's thoughts:

Many people will be reassured to read this.