Modern Medicine: You never had it so good


A friend of mine is in hospital in the UK. He has been there for three weeks, but he should not have been there. My mother was in hospital in the UK for five weeks, but she should not have been there. Why? Because she was merely taking up a bed because the doctors in charge of her case had not yet made a diagnosis, so she must stay in for further tests. My friend was also waiting for procedures, waiting for results and waiting for the medical fraternity to tell him what was next.

All of the above sounds quite reasonable, until you find out that to have an echocardiogram there is a wait of several days, and another wait for the results. Ditto for a colonoscopy. Ditto for blood tests. Ditto for anything else, but not including bed pans, which can be delivered reasonably promptly, I was assured by my mother.

I did manage to talk to my mother in her hospital bed. It was quite simple really. You ring the hospital and then get the telephone number of the ward she is in, as they cannot transfer your call, as there is some problem with the switchboard. Then you ring the ward directly, and the nurse will give you the telephone number of the phone they take to the bedside. “But please wait a few minutes, so we can take it to her while she waits for your call. You’re lucky today, the phone wasn’t working last week.” So eventually you do get to speak to each other.

In the chat, I found out that mother had a fall while in hospital and hurt her hip. She couldn’t get about and had to use a Zimmer hopper. Previously she could walk normally. I asked if she had had an X-Ray of the hip. Negative.

I rang and after two days managed to speak to the doctor looking after my mother. He agreed that an X-Ray of the hip would be in order, so he promised he would arrange it. Of course that took a couple of days, and the results likewise, but he assured me there was no fracture. I wish I could have as much faith in his diagnostic ability with X-Rays as he has. It would have been nice to get the hospital in the UK to email me the digital X-Rays for my radiologists here to look at, and also to my radiologist son in Australia. Unfortunately, this was not possible, and the treating doctor did not know if the hospital had an email address. I shouldn’t complain, as in 1815 when they laid the foundation stone for the hospital, the UK was a little busy celebrating the Battle of Waterloo to worry about emails.

But back to mother occupying a bed in the UK for five weeks. The biggest hold-up seemed to be the fact that the cardiologist hadn’t seen her, and it was he who wanted further tests. To bring you right up to date, mother had had a series of ‘fainting’ attacks causing the falls. I asked the treating doctor why mother was yet to see the ‘Great Man’ and was told that he had been on holidays, there was Easter, and there was only one cardiologist. So mother (and I) were left waiting.

In Bangkok Hospital Pattaya, the entire process would have taken three days at the outside. Living in Pattaya, you never had it so good!

By the way, the Bangkok Hospital group also has a hospital in Hua Hin, with its large number of ex-pat retirees. So, if you are in Hua Hin and need medical care to a similar level of care as you are used to in Bangkok Hospital Pattaya, it is now available in Hua Hin. Telephone 032 616 800 or via the Contact Center 1719.