My Hospital Stay At The Ramkhamhaeng Hospital
As mentioned earlier I went to Bangkok Heart Hospital (BHH) and was diagnosed with a serious heart condition that would require open heart surgery to repair. They wanted 1.2 million bhat to repair my problem and do triple bypass at the same time. To be
specific my condition was a problem with one of my heart valves and I had an aortic aneurysm. They performed and echocardiogram and a CT Angiogram to be able to diagnose my problem. The CT indicated that I might need a triple bypass at the same
time. As I would be already opened up this would be a good time to perform the additional surgery. I walked in to the hospital at 8am and left at 5pm with the diagnosis and about 40,000 bhat of diagnostic fees etc. Needless to say I was in a bit
of shock as they told me that I needed to do this immediately or I might "explode". I went back to my hotel room contemplate my situation and to research the diagnosis.
I went to my condo in Pattaya and was very freaked out and afraid to even breath. My internet research indicated that my options were limited and that open heart surgery was the only way to fix the condition and return me to a normal lifestyle. I looked around on the web and found another hospital in Bangkok and contacted them. I went for a second opinion and and the diagnosis did not change but the management of the solutions was more conservative. Regardless it still required open heart surgery. The other option was to do nothing and I might last 10 years but my heart's cardio function would only decrease and my ability to lead a normal life would decrease continually. The hospital that I got a second opinion from was Ramkhamhaeng Hospital (RH) over in the Bang Kapi area. The said that I might not need bypass surgery but needed to run more tests to confirm that this was not necessary. Their price was in the range of 400,000 – 600,000 bhat. Remembering that the BHH included additional surgery that might not be required, it is difficult to compare the 2 prices.
I scheduled the surgery and checked into the RH and they performed an angiogram to check the coronary arteries. The diagnosis was that my pipes were clean and no bypass surgery was required. This meant 2 or 3 less wounds to worry about as they would not have to harvest any veins or arteries for the bypass from my arms or legs. Off to surgery to fix the rest of the problem. I was asked by the anesthesiologist what I wanted to remember as he is jabbing my arms with locals and I told him – "not much of anything" – and the next thing I remember is him telling me to wake up. He did a great job. Anyhow, there I am in the CCU recovering with constant 24 hour coverage. I received a number of sponge baths from the nurses – at times 8 of them – and them talking away in Thai and me not understanding any of what they are saying – I can only imagine what they were speaking about. You have to understand that you are really a baby at that point and can't even get out of bed to pee and are at the mercy of the nursing staff.
Anyway to shorten up this experience – the care that I received at RH was really excellent. They don't have all the fancy marble, Starbucks, McDonalds etc. They are a Thai neighborhood hospital and their prices reflect their customer base. My final bill was 777,770 bhat. They gave me a discount refunded of about 65,000 bhat so my final bill was around 715,000 bhat. It was higher that I was told but I did have some complications that required extra care so that was expected. I paid them with bank transfers from my home country bank and there was no problem. They initially requested about 500,000 which was sent – then they gave me a balance due for the remainder. They agreed to hold my passport at discharge while I made arrangements for a second transfer to cover the balance. Off I went to a local hotel about 10 minutes walk away. I was in the hospital for 2 weeks and the care and attention was excellent. Hospital food for what it is, was adequate, but a few phone calls to the Pizza Company relieved the boredom of the hospital food.
The RH hospital was just as well equipped as BHH or any other hospital in the Bangkok area. The RH has cheaper rates for doctors' fees and medications than BHH as far as I can see. I have used Bumrungrad before and was satisfied with their prices for out patient procedures but have never used them beyond that capacity. The surgeon that performed my surgery practices at Bumrungrad at times. He says that the BHH is a closed group now but he did practice there before. My particular surgeon had practiced in the USA for a number of years so his English was very good and he understood that most Americans will ask many questions but was very patient. The RH web site is WWW.RamHospital.com and they have an American that runs the International Visitors Program. As he is a native English speaker it made everything much easier.
All in all the RH group was very competent and professional but they are somewhat weak on English if you are a walk in patient. If you contact the Foreign Visitors group they will have someone there to assist you. I would use the RH again. The solution presented to me to fix my problem were as conservative as possible and not like the presentation that I got from BHH. The RH did not down play the seriousness of my condition but I was made not to feel that I was at death's doorway. The surgeon at BHH was – as I interpreted his explanation – very set on the procedure that he would perform. The surgeon at RH was very flexible and indicated that until he was inside there was no way to be sure what solution was the best option. The agreement with the RH staff was that they would provide me with the most conservative, least complication, long term solution possible and that is what they provided.
I considered many hospitals in the Bangkok area, Bumrungrad, BHH, BNH Hospital etc. When I went to BHH they informed that, they, BHH were the main referral hospital for conditions such as mine and that many of the other hospitals would send me to BHH, this included BNH Hospital which is part of the Bangkok group but don't advertise that information. I think BHH is a good hospital but more expensive for the same quality of care that you can get elsewhere.
Interesting to hear how much money can be saved by shopping around.