Post-operative Pain in Taiwan - Beware


5 years ago I was hit by a car and had both bones in my right arm snapped just above the wrist. WOW, I got great service at the Taipei Hospital in HsinChuang. I was bumped right up to the front of the line. The head surgeon came down to check me out and whisked me to X-ray. I was in the operating theatre in less than an hour. My Taiwanese friend said it was because I was a foreigner so they were taking care of me. Good for me, but I felt a bit bad for those who were already waiting. In Australia you could wait in the emergency room for hours just for a broken arm.

Anyways, I can’t really remember about any pain killers prescribed during my 2 day stay in hospital or once I left hospital, but I had a scary experience under the general anesthesia.

First they wanted to just give me a nerve block for the arm. The doc said I would feel a pain like an electric shock in the arm when they hit the nerve. Well they kept sticking the needle in the side of my neck, poking around with them asking, “Can you feel it yet?” to which I replied, “well, I don’t know if it is an electric shock, but you a bloody well hurting me”. Then they pulled the needle out and I felt a big spray go down the side of my neck. I thought oh shit! and asked them if that was my blood spraying out, to which they said “no”. Anyway, after a few more tries, I finally felt the electric shock, my god that hurt. Then they gave me the general and I fell asleep.

BUT I woke up to the sensation of my arm being pulled. I thought tho myself, Finished, they must be wrapping my arm. But then, I hear a drill and then my arm beig pulled again and I thought “Oh F@#$, am I supposed to be awake and am I supposed to feel this”. But I couldn’t move and I couldn’t speak. Actually I could move my toes and I was trying to wiggle them so much that they would notice, but nothing… Actually I couldn’t feel the drilling or the moving of the broken bones or anything, just the feeling of my arm being pulled at the shoulder joint.

Next thing, the nurse says, “Finished” and I woke up. But the next strange thing was that my Taiwanese friend who waited for me the whole time said that I had actually been in the recovery room for an hour and they couldn’t wake me from the general anesthetic. They were yelling at me and slapping my face.

So 2 days in hospital with 2 pins in my arm. One of the holes got infected two weeks later due to the summer heat. But when it was finally time to get the pins pulled out, I thought I would have been given a local. But no, the doc just grabbed my arm and got some plyers and pulled and twisted the pins out. Surprisingly, that didn’t hurt. Maybe that part never hurts, luckily.

Well, that was an experience, my experience in Taiwan.


They were slapping me too when I got out of anestetics.

Most nerves sit in the skin anyways, so having pins pulled out should not hurt much.

I hate pain, and I did not feel much when they pulled 3 pieces of K wire out of my thumb.


Here"s a HK option that offers good treatment and sensible pain planning, It’s a private hospital, and I do have good medical cover,

Was hospitalised and found to have a liver abscess. The main features were fever, hideous fever spiking three to four times a day,and pain. I’d had that for almost two weeks before coming to the hospital.

Was referred to the Sanitorium and Hospital in Happy Valley. Hong Komg. In the door, saw a doc, and put through a barrage of tests and diagnosed in no time, within two hours I was in a bed, with IV abtibiotics and the doc rattling off a very logical and cautious treatment plan.

Just over a week later and things have gone pretty much the way the doc said it would, which unfortunately meant getting stabbed in thre liver with a drainage tube at one point, but he did cover the pain of that. More specifically the abscess is draining and the infection is fading fast. No more fevers, few aches and just a tad low on energy. The doc as mentioned is cautious, and I like him for it. I got three more days of lolling about in here with the occasional IV dose (stronger that way), and a vast stack of books.



Oof, you poor thing. Glad they’re taking care of you.


I hope you are better, and that your princesses have been taking good care of you.


Thanks Guys


I would actually go to the emergency room of a major hospital if I were in your shoes. I would being all the documentation I had.


You can get otc (over-the-counter) oxy in Korea and the papers to fly with it, IF you know the right doctor. :wink:


I guess the experience may vary from doctor to doctor.
I had a bike accident falling over at roughly 55km/h on a descent due to a tyre failing to grip. I managed to fall properly (on the whole side to spread the impact), had a look at scratches and bruises and I rode back home.
After a few days I started to fell discomfort at the top of my left arm, and I thought:“Uhm…that feels weird, I don’t even have a scratch there”, so I went to see an orthopedic. One set of X-rays later turns out the large tendon that connects arm and shoulder was pulled so hard during the fall that it split the bone of the arm in two, keeping everything in place though.
The doc offered me pretty much any kind of pain-killer he had available, but since I was not feeling anything that could be defined as “pain” I refused.
It was a private clinic, so maybe they’re more prone to giving out medicals?


I feel bad for those who had ybad experiences. I have had similar problems with surgeries here. But the reality in Taiwan is an unrealistic controlled substance problem. Drug addiction is rampant and the government here tries to avoid other non addicted people to get addicted. I don’t agree with the logic, but it’s the reality of Taiwan and pain killers here are seriously lacking. This is frustratingly alongside wholesale cough medicine availability and stimulant drug manufacture, which frankly makes the governments regulations on doctors giving pain killers a joke. I think they are kind of right not selling the opiates a lot to patients, but then you see how they sell everything else, even when not needed to abuse the nhi, it seems a broken system.

I got ibuprofen from a leading Kaohsiung hospital and a machete accident across my palm and 4 days in hospital. Needless to say, it was painful for a while and ibuprofen didn’t work…Taiwan has some work to do on prescription management. As the country here we pop pills far worse than opiate devastated usa, for example. We just accept organ failure more willingly :frowning:


Non opiates probably. Be clear on the type of pain pills we are talking about.