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?