Ban insurance company personnel from the CCU areas in hospitals

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Dear Editor,

Having suffered a sudden attack of chest pains, my sister in law was rushed to the Bangkok Hospital Pattaya last week where doctors determined that two of the arteries in her heart were blocked and needed immediate surgery to insert a stent into one of them and come back for a second procedure in a couple of weeks.

The operation was successful and I went in to visit her the next day in the CCU (Coronary Care Unit) section of the hospital.

As I was sitting there speaking to the patient, in walks in young woman who claimed to be from the BUPA insurance company and without a thought of appropriateness, gleefully blurted out that the operation had “cost almost 400,000 baht and that the second one would cost a little more. But it was alright because the patient’s insurance policy covered up to a million baht”. She then blatantly asked for a signature to acknowledge the total amount.

I looked at her in disbelief and disgust as I watched my sister-in-law who had just had a heart operation cover her mouth in horror.

I asked the insurance representative whether she had any sense at all and more important whether she was really that inconsiderate.  No words can describe the audacity and thoughtless behaviour of the BUPA ‘salesgirl’ walking into a CCU area and talking about money to patients who have just undergone a serious operation.

She could have easily asked the daughter of the patient who was sitting by the bed to the common area to discuss such matters. What was even worse was her blurting out to me about these charges. She didn’t even know who the visitors were and didn’t bother to ask first.

Whilst the Bangkok Hospital Pattaya’s medical staff performed their duties professionally, their management team and nurses must provide the non-medical office-workers training in basic manners and courtesy and strictly enforce control and restrictions on insurance companies’ staff entering every area of the hospital, especially the intensive care units areas.

The doctors work hard to save a patient’s life, but their work could be brought to naught by someone allowed to approach the seriously ill patients to discuss financial matters.

It’s all about money but these people should be banned from talking to critically ill patients without the supervision of a professionally trained doctor or nurse.

Peter M