Medical care is a huge deal when you’re in the United States or your home country, but being sick or ill and needing to visit the hospital is even scarier when you’re abroad. Whether just on vacation, on a business trip overseas, or living in a foreign land, you realize how just how important access to good doctors and medical care can be.
Such was the case for me recently as I ran into a bad spot of health. Actually, there were two separate times over the last six mots when I was in dire need of a good hospital with specialists. The first, last summer and fall, I came down with a nasty eye infection that rendered me nearly legally blind and caused some serious problems for me. And now, as I’m writing this, I’m in the waiting room of a hospital in Thailand, waiting for the results of some testing for an equally-nasty stomach parasite or organism (I think) that’s been plaguing me the last couple months.
Luckily, in both cases, I’ve visited the Bangkok Pattaya Hospital. Located in the thriving international and vacation community of Pattaya only about 1.5 hours from Bangkok, this hospital is a member of the greater Bangkok Hospital umbrella here in Thailand.
And while I’ll never say that it’s a pleasure to come to the hospital for a health problem, I’m happy to report that the experience, care, and service are absolutely first-rate. I’ll tell you about it starting with the scheduling. I went to their website to try and find a specialist and make an appointment. I couldn’t get their online appointment feature to work properly, but no worries – I simply called and a nice representative that spoke Thai and English picked up within two rings – on a Saturday evening after hours. She carefully took my info and, since the specialist’s office was already closed, promised to call me back at 9 am the next morning.
9:01 am Sunday morning sharp, the phone rang. She confirmed my appointment for Monday, and I even got a text message confirmation.
Coming to the hospital again, it was easy to find my doctor’s office because everything is clearly marked with signs in Thai, English, and Chinese (I believe), as well as different buildings color, coded. But I didn’t even have to navigate on my own because the moment I walked in the main lobby, a nice, smiling Thai woman in traditional, sophisticated dress greeted me, helped me fill out a registration card, and got me pointed in the right direction. No waiting or getting in line!
Upstairs, each department has a beautiful and spotless waiting area with free tea and water, television, free Wi-Fi, etc. Seriously, this hospital is so clean that you could literally eat off the floor, and there must be three staff to every one patient throughout!
The hospital also has myriad cafes and cafeterias, bank machines, an actual bank branch, an internal pharmacy, of course, gift shops, lounge areas, prayer room, cool displays with nutritional and health education, and even chandeliers in the main lobbies!
This is truly the nicest hospital I’ve ever been in, and the quality of care from the doctors, both internationally trained and local Thai doctors and nurses, is outstanding. It’s not cheap at all by Thai or Asian standards, but it’s still just a pittance compared to the cost of a single doctor’s visit or out-of-pocket cost in the United States. I can see why so many people go abroad (or move abroad) just for better healthcare, and If I do have any problems in the future, I’ll come right to the Bangkok Pattaya Hospital in Thailand!