Obuma Care

As we get older or suffer an illness, health concerns,insurance and hospitals raise their head. Particularly for expats living in Thailand. But which insurance to go for and what`s the most suitable hospital in Khon Kaen. This article is not meant as an appraisal of health care insurance packages,plenty of other, more informative sites cover that already. Nor is it a review of every hospital or clinic in Khon Kaen.

This is a salutary tale, probably quite typical of many of us living here in the land of smiles:

Recently I was admitted to a hospital in Khon Kaen with crippling stomach pains. My friend took me to a private hospital in Khon Kaen. As I lay on a bed in A&E, after some preliminary checks, I was told I must stay the night, but in the same breath, pay 20,000 baht up front. My friend who had brought me to the hospital explained not all farangs walk round with that kind of money but that was ignored.

Nevertheless money found and paid, I was whisked to a private ward and had all the usual tests. The diagnosis wasn`t exactly specific. It ranged from gastritis to hepatitis to cancer and then some. Scary stuff. Or was it part scare tactics? I called my friend who is more knowledgeable on this subject,has lived in Khon Kaen a long time and whose wife’s friends were mainly Doctors.He duly came to speak to the Doctor. Whereupon the Doctor admitted none of the tests were conclusive, some irrelevant and that I might have none of above. My friend spoke to his wife. She in turn spoke to her Doctor friends and I checked out into a government hospital, that had Doctors that specialised in this field.

The diagnosis, treatment and service were all top class. And the nurses were cute as well. So I stayed 5 days!
Private Hospital: 1 day + some tests – cost 23,000 baht.
Government Hospital: 5 days + lots of correct tests – cost 31,000 baht.

So what did I learn? Private hospitals are a business first, patients 2nd. That particular hospital shall remain nameless but it has a reputation for charging for unnecessary treatment and has lost 60% of its `customers`. Government Hospital – patients first and not expensive. They didn`t charge me any more because I was a farang either.I can only relate to these 2 hospitals in Khon Kaen. I know it isn`t all roses in some government hospitals – lack of beds, private wards, specific medical equipment and lots of waiting.

Both my sons were born in another government hospital in Khon Kaen and along with the clinics I couldn`t fault them. As for insurance? Well its one of those, if you don`t have any, you can save money and kind of kid yourself that you won`t get ill`….until you do.

The hospital I attended was Sirnagarind Hospital. Next to The Queen Sirikit Heart Centre. Which I nearly needed when the private hospital presented me with my bill upon leaving. An added bonus, if your that way inclined, is that Srinagarind Hospital is used by Khon Kaen University Faculty of Medicine. Lots of medical students all eager to help the patient.

These Doctors are getting younger