Visit to a hospital in Thailand

Tag: Destinations, North Thailand, Thailand   
April 15, 2011   2 Comments

In Thailand you can get bitten a lot by various insects – mosquitoes mainly, but also ants, bed bugs and other mother-suckers. Carly had a bite on her leg and a few days later the surrounding area was swollen, red and tender.

We looked online and read about bite infections and the 7 steps to treat them…..the final step (#7) was that if the area is swollen and tender then seek a doctor’s advice as soon as possible. Oops.

Staying in Chiang Rai (a decent sized town) we were hopeful there would be some good options available and we found that there was a night clinic between 5pm-8pm or a local hospital.

So, the next day we headed out and checked out the two main temples in Chiang Rai and sandwiched between them is Overbrook Hospital. As the infected area had not decreased over night, we decided not to wait for the night clinic and headed to the hospital instead.

There was a basic information point manned by an old fellow at the top of the hospital steps, outside the entrance. We asked if the hospital took private patients but his English and our Thai could not progress the conversation. He pointed inside to another information desk and a nurse came to help. She asked if we had our passports – no; did we have any identity cards on us – no; ok, no problem, just come on in anyway…


We went inside and filled in a quick form before the nurse asked what was wrong. A moment later she came back with a printed wrist band and a receipt with a number on it and pointed us to the next building.


We went through to a modern and spacious area with clear English signs alongside their Thai counterparts. We asked at the “Registration” point what to do and were told to sit down.

Ben poorly attempted to entertain some little Thai kids with his sunglasses. We waited. People’s names got called, nurses came and went, people mysteriously got up and moved about to different areas. Things seemed organised.


Instead of calling Carly’s name a nurse came over and pointed to her name on a sheet – seeing as we were 2 Western faces amongst dozens of locals, it had to be us. After Carly was weighed and had her blood pressure taken we were told to move seats to a smaller section in front of a consultation room.


In front of the room there were 5 or 6 rows of seats, facing the door. Every one of the two dozen waiting people had their eyes trained on the door, willing their turn to come along. We were no different. As the door was mainly left open each patient would have a significant audience viewing their consultation. One chap lay down on the bed and was pulling down his trousers before the door fully closed…another had a blood test for our viewing pleasure.

It was something to do while we waited as more than a dozen patients were seen to. It was an extraordinary turnover of patients – some in and out in under a minute. We decided they must all be hypochondriacs or the doctor was extremely efficient with his diagnosis. It certainly didn’t install confidence as we nervously awaited our public.


Miss Carly [indistinguishable]?” the nurse called.
Is that me?” Carly questioned….

Ben nudged her to get up, asking her how many other “Miss Carly’s” were there among us?


The door fully closed – privacy. A minute later a nurse walked towards the room and opened the sliding door revealing Carly showing off some leg with her trousers down as she showed the doctor the infection. We all gawped from the audience as Carly blanched. Embarrassing!


A short diagnosis later (a skin infection caused by an insect bite – as we thought) we were off to the cashier and pharmacy area to pick up antibiotic cream and pills. It came to 395bht or about £8 for the doctor’s time and the medicine. Not bad and no need to worry the insurers!


We walked out and looked at our watches: only 90 minutes after walking in to this foreign hospital full of doubt and apprehension, and despite the lack of discretion, it was an incredibly good result. Probably better than we’d get back home!

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2 Responses to “Visit to a hospital in Thailand”

April 19th, 2011 @ 9:03 am

A very reassuring account of health care when you really feel you need it. I agree it might have taken a lot longer over here. I hope it is all better now?

April 20th, 2011 @ 3:18 am

She’s all better now…although I’ve recently broken my big toe. No hospital visit this time, just plenty of rest – which is working well!

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