How Good are the International Hospitals in Bangkok?


Thailand has an international reputation for their hospital services. It seems strange but people fly to Thailand just for “hospital holidays”. For many of them, hospital treatment is not only cheaper here, but of a higher standard. Just take a look at the lobby for the international hospitals in Bangkok and you will be forgiven in thinking that you have arrived at a five-star hotel. As you walk around, some even have the look of a shopping mall. One such hospital is Bumrungrad International Hospital in Bangkok. But, does a big expensive looking hospital mean that you are getting a better service? Not necessarily. One of my Twitter followers, @AndersInNon, had a recent experience where he believes that he caught Influenza Type-A at this hospital as he was forced to share a room with an infected patient. This is his story:

I was admitted at Bumrungrad International Hospital in Bangkok from March 23th until March 25th 2013 due to acute Vertigo, a non-infectious condition.

Despite my request for a standard single room, I was ultimately placed in a shared room, which was already occupied by one patient experiencing severe cough. It was apparent that this cough was a major concern to his physician as the patient was given detailed advice, medication as well as physical therapy.

No information was however given by Bumrungrad staff to me about the condition of this patient, and I was not offered any advice or even a protective mask.

As I was worried about the possible impact to me of this patient’s illness, I renewed my efforts to get a single room and on March 24th, late afternoon I was finally able to move. When I left the room, the visiting wife of the other patient told me that her husband had contracted his caugh from the person that had previously stayed in my bed and who according to her “had a very, very bad cough”.

During this brief hospital stay at Bumrungrad, I most likely acquired an Influenza A infection. This infection has now been confirmed by Nonthavej hospital in Nonthaburi, where I am currently undergoing specialist treatment.

Thus, I have raised a formal complaint to Bumrungrad regarding the hospital’s guiding principles in terms of patient safety in shared rooms, the awareness of medical staff and non-medical staff regarding infection prevention, and requested to know if either my room neighbour or previous occupant of the same bed were diagnosed with any Influenza like infection.

In such case, I have requested to be told of the precise diagnosis including influenza type and subtype of either patient, and why I was not given the choice not to be admitted to this room.

My current minimum expectation is that Bumrungrad Hospital will fully cover all hospital expenses for my current admission which is a direct result of the acquired Influenza A. However, if my condition worsens, my stay at present hospital needs to be extended beyond this weekend, or if any of my family members also get infected, the minimum expectation will be increased.

I have also informed Bumgrumrad Hospital that I will seek legal advice in case their investigation and response regarding my concerns will not meet my expectations.

What about you? Have you had any bad experiences with international hospitals in Thailand?

15 thoughts on “How Good are the International Hospitals in Bangkok?

  • February 25, 2017 at 4:56 pm

    Dr Donna? The lady is good in advertising her services on forums like this one. Don’t go there.

  • August 18, 2016 at 11:50 pm

    My family and I see Dr Donna who is a general practitioner

    She’s really fantastic..such an open-minded, incredible doctor who actually listens and cares about you.

    She works at her own clinic, Medconsult and some mornings at Bumrungrad I believe. My husband, two sons and I always saw her at medconsult – we used our insurance but it was also a lot cheaper we found than the bigger hospitals.

    Dr Donna has also visited my son in our home when he was very sick…this was so useful as he felt too unwell to go hospital almost.

  • March 27, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    Bumrungrad ?

    It not surprised me at all… that you have the change to catch up others diseases during the time that you are hospitalized.

    I brought a friend ( Hep. B patient with a liver cancer ) to this hospital and after consulting a med. doctor, next day i brought him to his ” hard discussed room ” ( Single stay )

    During the walk to the reserved room, i witnessed Global citizen ( Arabic, India, Sri Lanka, EU, Australian and so on )who visiting this hospital to undergo their treatment…

    As it is one of EU hospital standards to service clear corridors and clean footpaths.( this to avoid legionnaire illnesses, Streptococci contamination, hospital viruses and so on )..this World Class AA hospital – covered their floors with carpet !!

    What about this floor carpet where patients should stay? How you will clean this daily ? As the change is 24 hours present to get it contaminted with urine, stool, blood and more…

    Further there as a serious change present that carpets are contaminated with all kinds of Global bacteriological and non visible virussus ?

    Who’s controlling this ? Who is responsible for this ?

  • April 7, 2013 at 7:16 am

    My friend and I have both had treatment at Bumrungrad hospital and the Doctors did not carry out the requested treatment but did what they wanted to do. After these incidents I had a serious accident requiring my elbow to be screwed and wired. I tried Bangkok Christian but the Doctor said I needed surgery and the cost would be in excess of 100,000 Baht and the operation would not be guaranteed and no explanation of the procedure. My Thai neighbours said to go to Chulalongkorn Hospital as it is not a business but a hospital. I went registered in under 10 minutes for 30 Baht and was then shown to the Doctor given a full explanation of what was required they operated the next day and a perfect job. The cost 3,000 Baht follow up visits cost 30-40 Baht. Fantastic caring staff and even a special menu prepared for me and as is widely known it is the best hospital in Thailand but maybe not as up market as others so very little used by foreigners.

  • April 6, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    No matter how good the doctors, facilities, or reputation, if the hospital you go to has never seen your condition or illness, you may be out of luck. A friend of mine had a serious illness and went to Bumrungrad, but they could not diagnose him. He then went somewhere else (I think Bangkok Hospital), they knew what he had, and he soon recovered.

    I have received excellent service at several smaller hospitals in Bangkok, such as Prommitr and Petcharavej, the latter offers one of the best values in Bangkok for physicals.

  • April 6, 2013 at 8:21 am

    Any international hospital in Bangkok is better than the small provincial hospitals. My 1 year old son was almost given someone else’s IV meds in Ubon and was prescribed an overdose of adult meds in another incident. They also hand out antibiotics for everything possible.

    I fly my family to Bumrungrad from Ubon for most medical care and have been happy most of the time. Thankfully the cost isn’t an issue for me with my insurance. I have gotten 2nd opinions outside Bumrungrad and 3rd opinions from a friend who is a medical doctor in the states. Nearly every time, the extra opinions have confirmed Bumrungrad’s diagnosis and treatment. We’ve had a variety of fairly major medical issues. The quality of Bumrungrad’s facilities is better then any I’ve been in the US. The rooms even feel cleaner then Mayo Clinic in Minnesota which is supposed to be the best hospital in the world. The level of care given by nurses after surgeries is miles above US hospitals but that’s probably because there are so many of them and Asians typically give friendlier care (airlines, hospitals). If you look at the credentials of the doctors, a large portion of them have studied and worked in the US which makes me feel better about their care. Not that that alone makes a hospital or Dr. good quality. It’s nice to have so many specialists in one building. My wife once got opinions from 3 different specialists on one case in one day. That would take MONTHS AND MONTHS to accomplish in the US. Have you seen the way they keep their computer records? All your data is right in front of any Dr. so they can see your entire history in seconds. I’ve heard a few horror stories about Bumrungrad and other big hospitals in Bangkok but I think they are the exception. How many tens of thousands of people have had good experiences and not written about it online?

    Having said all that, the story above is terrible if true and I hope he recovers and Bumrungrad rights the wrongs. It sounds like more facts need to be found out.

  • April 6, 2013 at 7:06 am

    I read the story about this more or less famous hospital and need to tell the world this hospital sets very high standerds in every possible way.Personally i brought a friend of mine overthere several years ago ,in a rather urgent matter,i was his translator because of his lack of the englisch language.My friend requested a single room and stayed there for about one week without any problem or discomfort and returned home in good health.Last year another friend of mine got hospitalised in Bumrungrad for a couple of weeks too,he asked and stayed in a single room too…..

  • April 5, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    I shifted from Bumrungrad to BNH after I felt pain following an elementary ear procedure and then felt rushed by a follow up doctor I consulted to check there was no damage. I filed a complaint and to be fair the original doctor reimbursed my fee out of his own pocket. Bumrungrad is a business first and hospital second I’ve been told.

    For some reason my health insurance (taken out in UK) requires a 20% co-payment should I elect treatment specifically at Bumrungrad. This was told me after the event described above. Is it a reflection of Bumrungrad’s fees, I wonder? I am very happy with BNH now.

      • April 9, 2013 at 10:24 am

        BNH is BNH Hospital, formerly named Bangkok Nursing Home. It is on Soi Convent between Sathorn and Silom and is an excellent hospital.

        • January 2, 2015 at 7:08 pm

          BNH is Bangkok first private hospital. It has over 114 years of existence.

  • April 5, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    Bumrangrad saved my life and made me well. In America, that woudn’t have happened for less than 500,000 USD….maybe.

  • April 5, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    I’ve fortunately not often needed hospital services (and when I did, at Samitivej Srinakarin it was all top-notch), but I have a rather scary anecdote from my youth in Phuket…

    I went to the Bangkok Phuket Hospital for the purpose of checking my natural immunity to the various types of Hepatitis. When we were doing this, my mother also asked the doctor to check my blood type, since we actually did not know it…

    So a few days later the hospital calls back saying results are in, I get the required shots, and we inquire about the blood type test… the conversation went as follows:

    Doctor: His blood type is O
    My mother: OK, but O+ or O-?
    Doctor: Oh, we didn’t check
    Mom and me: …
    Doctor: But it’s no problem, all Thai people are O- so your son must be O+!
    My mother, wide-eyed at this point: I’m O-, so is his father
    Doctor: Oh really? Well it’s no problem, if he needs a transfusion the doctors will check first…

    Moral of the story, I still don’t know if I am O+ or O- 😀

  • April 5, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    Does not sound good as they are meant to be No1 in Thailand.

    • December 13, 2015 at 1:20 pm

      I am struggling now almost one year with dizziness, a head which is feeling very heavy, pressure on my eyes, tiredness, slight headache, hot head and the whole day mucus in my throat resulting that I’m have the feeling to walk like I’m a bit drunk and as a robot.

      My general (American!, whom I can highly recommend) doctor who is working in a private hospital advised me to make a MRI-scan. The scan showed among some less important things that a thickening has been detected above the right frontal sinuses is detected.

      The brain-specialist I visited in this hospital gave me medicines to try to open the blood vessel to the brains more (bad cholestorol), some kind of “baby aspirine” to make the bloodstream better but furthermore he didn’t give any notice to to sinuses.

      I started visiting “specialists” and the result is up-to today nil!

      Those doctors seems to have their own opinions, are not interested your story or cannot speak English enough. They even don’t look at the scan photos. Of the three “specialists” I visited are giving you medicins without even knowing about your (medical) back-ground and the use of other medicines. In the hospital pharmacy they only ask you of you can not use certain medicines.

      In my opinion it is a general Thai behavior: don’t listen to “lower educated” people and the lack of proper English speaking: “keep the country closed”.

      Enfin, next week I start my search for a good doctor, with my wife as a translator, and try to find somebody who can start, who is willing, finally the theme “Sinusitis”.

      As far as we are now I have visited Mission hospital, Bumrungrad hospital hospital and the Nose, Throat and Eye hospital (where the specialist had not more then five minutes time because he had to operate a patient) in Bangkok.


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