Trip to a Chiang Mai Hospital
When making the decision to become an expat in Thailand, one question undoubtedly always comes up; what if you get sick or hurt, what will you do? Once you put the what if’s behind you and decide to go for it, you soon discover that many things outside of your native country can be quite good, even healthcare. I must admit I too had these same questions up until a week ago when I decided to see what the Thailand healthcare system is like for myself. Aside from the dodgy street clinic here and there for a medical certificate needed to obtain whatever Thai document was needed that week, I hadn’t experienced the healthcare system for myself (knock on wood).
So, when my uncle phoned me up to let me know he thought he broke his back (dirt bike wreck), I jumped at the opportunity to see what really went on in Thai Hospitals; after I checked to make sure he was alright of course (I’m not that vain!).
Sriphat Hospital Chiang Mai
My uncle Pat had checked online and saw that there was a reputable clinic on the 12th floor of Sriphat Hospital, which is part of Chiang Mai University. Turns out, the Sriphat Hospital Wellness Center has recently moved into a brand new building across Suthep Rd. Instead of just pointing us in that general direction from the original Sripat Hospital, they put us in a mini van and drove us across the road.
The brand new building blew me away. It was beautiful, like something you would see in America. The Wellness Center is now located on the 5th floor. Once in the Wellness Center, you’ll be greeted by no less than four smiling English-speaking Thai nurses. You will be presented a pamphlet to help you decide which “program” you want to choose.
Here is how the program was when we were there: Click to see full image
Pat went for the Diamond program because he wanted to get his blood work done while we were there. Payment was made with credit card and he was taken right in to begin blood work, urine etc. This is where something different stood out to me. The nurse that drew his blood was not wearing gloves. Strange to me, because other nurses were walking around, as seen in video below, with gloves on. Nonetheless, blood work was completed and he was sent for a sonogram to make sure all vital organs looked normal. Pat claims the sonogram room was just as clean as the exam room we started the day in. Some waiting, and then the doctor showed up. The consultation was just as you would expect in your home country, and yes, the doctor spoke perfect English. The conclusion was his back was not broken, but rather a deep muscle contusion. Whew, I don’t feel so bad for calling him a sissy now!
Cost of Hospital Visit in Thailand
This varies depending on which program you settle on. This is for a very nice wellness center in a reputable Chiang Mai Hospital. Numerous clinics exist in any city in Thailand that will get you in with a doctor for as little as 80 baht ($2). (Click for updated post and video on Thailand hospitals, including an MRI at Chiang Mai Ram hospital)
Quality of a Thailand Hospital
Again, depends on which clinic/hospital you go to. Personally, I want to go somewhere that looks clean and sanitary; some of these street clinics can look a little off-putting. If you choose a decent clinic/hospital, the care will be just as good, if not better than your home country.
On the whole, I was really impressed with the level of service of the Thai nurses, especially for the cost. Sure, it might cost $250 for the best program at this wellness center, but for the test being performed, this is far less than what it would have been in America, even with insurance.
Don’t take my word for it, check it for yourself. I tried to record as much as I possibly could of the interaction.