Monday, May 01, 2006

A Trip to the Hospital

I've just been to see the doc about my leg. As is fairly typical, a number of differences between Chinese hospitals and those in the UK were readily apparent.

1. You have to 'queue' and pay before you get to see a doc. People's actual adherence to The Way of The Queue is minimal. Even when the queue is only 1 person deep people will still try to cut in. Most Chinese people I speak to find this behavior irritating as well!

2. Smoking - there are many no smoking signs in hospitals but little adherence. You'll often see a group of people, even pregnant women, and sitting next them will be a bloke (invariably) smoking constantly.

3. Mobile Phones - everyone, even the doctors, use them all the time. Make you wonder if the rules in the UK that ban their use for fear of interfering with equipment serve any purpose other than to force people to use expensive payphone services.

4. Drips. You often see people wandering about with a bottle of saline attached. It's that much a part of the treatment regime that if you go to the Accident and Emergency section, there will be a hook over every seat in the waiting room.

5. Privacy. First doctor we went to see had 15 patients in the room with him. As I wanted a doctor to look at my leg I had no intention to drop my trousers with an audience so had to keep looking.

6. Blood tests - I don't know if they do this in other countries but most Chinese hospitals use a bank-teller type screen so you insert your arm through the window and they 'do their thing' - I've never encountered this elsewhere.

All in all, the hospitals in Hangzhou seem to be as well equipped as UK ones and the waiting times to see a doctor are a fraction of those in the UK. It's a diferent story out in the sticks though. Having been to the hospital in YY's home town I would have to be at death's door to let them treat me for anything.

1 comment:

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