Best & Worst Hospital Stories
We asked our fans on social media to come up with best and worst medical related stories. They certainly didn’t disappoint, some of these are quite hilarious. Most are also very informative.
Last year I had a motorbike accident and broke my collar bone. My orthopaedic surgeon from Family Medical Practice performed my operation at FV Hospital, and all went well. Of course, as in the U.S. they wanted assurance of payment, and charged my credit card prior to admission for the projected cost of my hospital stay, plus fees associated with my surgery.
A friend went to a local hospital. Because of insomnia, she got prescribed a strong neuroleptic and a strong antidepressant. Now she has insomnia because of the side effects of these strong drugs, and she’ll need months or even years to lower the use of or stop these medications. I would say, never visit a local hospital unless you have a prior diagnosis.
I have been here 10 years. I have had many treatments: a hernia in the groin area repaired (Columbia Asia International Clinic by Dr. Vinh); new lenses in both eyes (had multifocals for 27 years, went to Symphony International Eye Clinic); and a left shoulder supraspinatus tendon reattached (An Sinh Hospital). When I had a left rotator cuff repaired I went to FV Hospital, where the boss wanted me to stay four nights for more money, yet his surgeon said only one night; this op was conducted by Dr. Nguyen Trong Anh, the best orthopaedic guy around). I’ve also just had a malignant growth cut out of my head at Van Hanh Hospital and will have a new left hip soon. I didn't go to Cho Ray or some of the shitty cattle yards which pretend to be hospitals, but I chose much better, far cheaper hospitals with highly qualified surgeons and specialists. Medical care here, in my experience, has been far better than I have received in the past in Oz.
I cannot believe that a hospital would not only be filthy, with no soap or many other necessities, but also have no food. While I was in for pneumonia, I almost starved to death! There was no bedpan, we had to buy one, no bedding, bring your own and wash it yourself. But the best part was when I asked for water. I was told to call my family to bring me some. My family is in New York. The first night the room filled up with (I counted) 32 family members of other patients. They moved in, slept everywhere, yelled all night, got in fights, smoked and were all oblivious to the fact that sick people were trying to get rest! A total nightmare! When I got good and fed up and checked out the attendant rammed my foot with a floor cleaner and cracked my toe. The doctor put on a terrible cast that didn't fit and had a lumpy bottom I couldn't stand on and had such sharp edges, it cut my foot open when I tried to walk! I had to have it removed due to pain and bleeding.
After getting a confirmation that I probably have appendicitis, I got in a taxi to Columbia hospital on the other side of the city. I slapped the stack of scans and test results down in front of the night staff along with my health insurance card. The receptionist rang the “emergency” number on the back of the card. But the lady on the other end refused to confirm that I will be covered. The total cost would come to some VND75 million (about $3,362). For them to admit me without confirmed insurance cover, they’d need a deposit of VND15 million, an amount I wasn’t even close to having. I didn’t have my passport to use as a deposit either, since I already used it as a deposit with a different hospital in exchange for one of the crucial scans. I grabbed the phone and poured hot liquid contempt down the line. “Look, this is an emergency. My appendix has decided it wants to kill me and doesn’t give a damn about your office hours. If I wait, I could die. Do you understand that?” The night staff wrest the receiver away before I could start swearing, and to their great credit slowly managed to convey the urgency of the situation. At about 4:30 a.m. I finally get the green light, and by 5:30 a.m. I was in a hairnet and operating gown.
Nicolas Dupaux at CMI is the best osteopath in HCMC. He took 30 minutes to reduce my back pain when I spent two hours in ITO without any effect. The diagnosis was opposite. And even the medicine proposed was different. So for foreigners the foreign hospitals are much better and with expected result. Never want to try a local one again.
I went to Ngoc Minh clinic because it was close to my office. Despite not even being here for a year I took on the language challenge and got everything done using Vietnamese. I felt everything was okay!
Without insurance, Saigon can be a surprisingly expensive place to get injured. I should know after having three crashes in eight days. The first was an unavoidable collision with a wall after a lunatic motorbike driver swerved me off the road: I bruised my thigh but was otherwise more or less OK. The second was a skin-shredding balancing-act that tore a lot of skin off my sandaled foot. I went to the Centre Medical International (CMI) on Han Thuyen where they cleaned my wounds and gave me professional instruction on how to look after them. The charge of VND800,000 seemed reasonable considering the level of care I received.
Third crash: I hit a pothole on the poorly maintained road after the Thu Thiem bridge. I felt like I had broken my leg so decided it was hospital time. Following the advice of various expats, I went to the French-Vietnamese Hospital (FV) in District 7. For around VND3 million they took an x-ray, performed an ultrasound and treated me expertly from start to finish. I couldn’t walk for three weeks or so and were it not for my wife, I would’ve suffered massively. The moral of the story: drive slowly, expect the worst and be married to someone who is willing to bring you supplies like an angel.