First Experience With Health Care in Philippines

First, let’s start with the basics: I’ve never had a stitch in my life. Never broken a bone. At 62, I’m pure and pristine.

I’m an amateur guitar maker and have sliced myself with chisels, knives and a saw or two. I cleaned up the blood, patched myself and moved on.

Endulge me me while I make a non-Philippines aside. Skip it if you want; but you’ll regret it.

It’s a guy thing, this pretending not to be hurt. I knew a carpenter who years ago apprenticed with an old school craftsman. The old guy was from Sweden as I recall. Had a garage day shop. Completely old  school he didn’t even own a phone. But a bandsaw he had.

One day working, that bandsaw sliced off a small tip of his finger. Not one to waste a day he wrapped the finger tight, dropped the tip in his shirt pocket and finished his day.

His routine was the same daily. He walked from the garage to his house, took off his clothes and climbed into the shower. While showering his saint of a wife grabbed his dirty clothes. She did the same this day. The finger tip fell out of his shirt pocket. She screamed, fainted, and struck her head unconscious.

Panicked, the old guy knew an ambulance was needed. Course he had no phone. Naked and wet he ran next door to beg for a phone.

Ok, I’m not this bad. Yesterday we arrived in Cebu. Jetlagged and exhausted I attempted to open a new spray bottle of sunscreen. Usually scissors are used to cut the plastic ring. Damn no scissors. But then I remembered that I had brought a nice Kershaw knife to give as a passalubong (present) to my father in law. I dug it out of my suitcase to break the ring.

You can imagine the rest. Janet yelled at me “don’t do it that way” as the knife slipped. I can now tell you from personal experience  – Kershaw makes a fine blade.

We actually got the bleeding to stop and wrapped a couple band aids around it and went to breakfast. But I was nervous. At 62 cuts don’t heal like when I was young if they heal at all.

So reluctanly we went to the hotel front desk and inquired about a doctor. Turns out the hotel has an onsite nurse. The young man examined my cut, cleaned and re-bandaged it professionally, made chit chat about how long we’d been married and whether we had any kids. In the end he pronounced, “you’re gonna need stitches,”

Total cost for the nursing care including tip: 50 pesos ($1.20) .

We grabbed a taxi for the bumper to bumper 30 minute ride to Cebu. Janet, ever the practical wife, asked the driver to take us to the hospital nearest to Ayala Mall. Janet loves Ayala Mall .

We went into the emergency room at Cebu Succour Perpetual. Within minutes of taking my sordid story I was in a room with an actual doctor.  Ok, the guy looked 20 but his ID said he was a doc. And hell, since I’m told that Janet looks inappropriately young, how can I complain.

I told the doc my story again and added that I have never had a stitch in my life, “and I’m 62,” I added dramatically.

“I don’t think you need stitches,” he replied after examining the wound. “A special bandage is cheaper.”

I gave him a look which said, “I am a  rich Kano. I don’t need the cheapest treatment.”

“It’s quicker and will heal faster.” Sold! A tetanus shot was also required, as were scripts for a couple of meds.

We were out in a half hour. Total cost for the excellent service: $9. Ok, the meds at a pharmacy were $30 more.

But all in all a great experience  but one which I will never live down. OTOH I’m still stitchless and perfect lol!


4 thoughts on “First Experience With Health Care in Philippines”

  1. Dave, glad you had a good experience with the medical in Philippines….I got deathly sick in Manilla last May shortly after arriving there. 104 temp. diarrhea. Hurt all over. My then fiancé got me to the hospital clinic and they were all sooo nice and competent. Dr. exam, blood labs, stool samples, meds and three trips there was about 70 dollars. I estimated it would have been about 1200 in the US for what they did. I was totally blown away by the care that I received.
    By the way, planning another trip there this next winter. Hope to stay a couple of months. My Wife’s family is in Cainta, Rizal.

  2. Next time something like that happens, Dave…just yell “Agay!!!” Janet will come running to you very fast-guaranteed! Works for me with Annie.

  3. I have found that it is not the cost of the medical treatment that can make one broke (relatively speaking), but the cost of the prescription medicines. In early February I was experiencing blood in my urine, a sharp pain while urinating, and then excruciating pain in my bladder. The bladder pain, a 104F temp, and the (appreciated) nagging of my fiancee was finally enough to bring me to Velez Hospital Emergency Room one night at 1 am. I was seen almost immediately, provided urine and blood samples, and was given a painkiller. After consultation with the doctor and blood sample results, severe UTI was diagnosed. I was given a prescription for 14 antibiotics, 30 painkillers, an ultrasound and discharged, refusing to remain for a day or two. The cost of the hospital bill was P1,935 and another P1,440 the next day for the ultrasound, a total of P3,375 ($76USD) for emergency room, painkiller, blood test, urine test and ultrasound. At the hospital pharmacy (due to lack of pocket cash) I picked up 6 tabs of each prescription for P675. At another pharmacy the remaining pills cost another P2,200, for a total of P2,875 ($65USD).

    Yesterday I saw a urologist because it was starting to hurt urinating again and there was blood in the urine. The doctor suspected a prostrate infection, which takes longer for antibiotics to work. He gave me a prescription for antibiotics and a medicine to dilate the urinary tract. The cost for the doctor visit was P500 ($11.30USD) while the cost of the prescriptions, one generic and one non-generic, was P10,272.50 ($232.45USD).

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