Sharing experience going to the doctors or hospital in Taiwan

I thought it would be useful for us to share experiences of going to a hospital or clinic in Taiwan.

Which clinic did you go to?
Why did you go?
what happened?
How much did it cost?
Did they do a good job?
etc etc.

I’ve been to the doctors more times than I can remember.

I almost always go to hospitals these days, although they can be more expensive, I generally trust them more. They can also prescribe more days of pills.

I remember in when I lived in Hsinchu going and getting a long list of not so needed pills. Also, because my chinese wasn’t very good, I’d bring an interpreter who’d end up chatting to the doctor while I just sit there trying and failing to get information.

My most recent time was kind of odd. I had gone to the emergency department in Taida hospital (台大醫院) two weeks before, and been told it might be a urinary tract infection, so when I got ill again I went back to 台大醫院 to the urology department. He thought my primary problem probably wasn’t urinary and refered me to the family doctor, telling me I’d have to pay twice. When I got there. they said I probably just had a common cold, nothing to do with my last visit, and then said he’d cancel my details so I don’t have to pay. I still went to the pay counter to check, and they said the doctors had canceled so I don’t have to pay.

I went to the Adventist hospital in Taipei recently to get checked for melanoma since it runs in my family. It didn’t go as smoothly as it did a few years back. While I was explaining why I was there I began removing my clothes only to invoke a shriek of terror when I started unfastening my belt. The doctor, visibly shaken, told me to keep my clothes on, while her assistant was fixated on my hairy chest as if in a trance. After about 10 minutes of dialogue that had all three of us confused, I finally got her to schedule me to see a surgeon so I could see about getting a mole cut off and tested. They didn’t charge me for the visit, because the doctor never did figure out why I was there

Pap smear, blue flipflop guy came in to deliver a gas bottle and get the money from someone. Had to shout at my nurse to keep her on task.

I went to Mackay Memorial along Zhongshan N. Rd. because I was having difficulty breathing. General information was very nice and led me to the “right” doctor. However, the doctor doesn’t speak good English and I had to act out my complaint. Puzzled looks, blood tests and a return trip (which lasted several hours) later, I was told my results were normal (by a different doctor) and that it was a normal thing amongst girls to have difficulty breathing. I don’t know what kind of girls he hangs out with but it can’t be pleasant…I didn’t even get a copy of my blood test results. Wonder if that’s normal. :ponder:

I usually go, get some tablets. They come in a long string of little grease proof bags with some inane cute character printed on them to make me feel happy. These pills are great, you get one for symptom, one to counteract the side effects, then another to counter that side effect and normally some random pill cut in half that may or may not have just fallen in the packs. Oh and the dose is fast and short as this is best to not actually harm you. Whatever your condition, you don’t leave without tablets.

Well, as a native Taiwanese, I have mixed feelings after reading these posts. Some is fun and some is embarrassment for me. Hope these experiences won’t turn out to be very negative thoughts about doctors in Taiwan.

Sometimes the doc here won’t charge the patient for the visit if it’s only a consultation. But most of the time the doc will charge consultation fee, instead. It’s very cheap anyway. And I kind of agree that the medical staff here would be unusually terrified when they haven’t got prepared and a foreigner suddenly took off his/her clothes right in front of them. It’s hard to explain why. As for the blood test results, you can always ask the doc to give you a copy. Sometimes the hospital will charge it, but mostly the doc will directly give it to you as a favor. To prescribe drugs no matter what the patient’s condition is is somehow a problem here. Maybe it’s because some docs and most patients don’t consider “consultation” as a treatment, and it’s also time consuming to persuade the patients not to take drugs. Maybe there’s a tacit approval here. That is, some drugs, no problem; no drug, big problem.

There was the time I had a urinary tract infection and I was trying to explain my problem to the volunteer so she could direct me to the right department in the hospital. She started asking me did I have ‘mei jun’ and I wasn’t really sure what she meant for the first couple of minutes.
Then spent some red face moments in front of a bunch of volunteers- when I figured out ‘Mei jun’ meant syphllis…
No I did not have syphllis.

Overall I’ve had quite positive experiences, the above was more humourous than anything.

I can strongly recommend never going to NTU’s emergency room.

I had a fever for several days and my friend dragged me to the emergency room against my will. The doctor asked if I “frequently get headaches,” and I do, and in a look of utter terror he told me it must be meningitis and I would need a spinal tap. 12 hours of discomfort later, I was told it was just a cold. -_-

Also of note, some emergency room patient’s blood spilled on the floor at some point during my visit, and when I left hours later it was still there. This is the only bad experience I’ve ever had in a Taiwanese hospital so I think it’s a problem with NTUH.

Last time I went to the hospital for a CT the technician pumped the contrast liquid too strongly and caused a severe extravasation in my right hand. When I showed my blue, extremely swollen hand to her she showed all her “professionalism” by jumping back (literally) and shouting “Ah! Zhe shi shenme?!?!”. She then proceeded to misdiagnose me with a hematoma. When I found out what had happened I phoned the hospital to know whether they had used non-ionic or ionic contrast liquid (the first causes a mild condition that goes away by itself, the second might require emergency surgery and involves the risk of losing part of the hand). They couldn’t figure it out. O_o
At the same hospital, when I went to see the surgeon to get the results of my CT, he took a look at the images and went “oh no… there is a mass here. Oh, and here too…”. Only after I had (figuratively) crapped my pants he thought of checking with the radiologist, who then confirmed those were the hernia patches I had inserted during a surgery ten years ago (which this particular doctor knew about).

[quote=“Novaspes”]Last time I went to the hospital for a CT the technician pumped the contrast liquid too strongly and caused a severe extravasation in my right hand. When I showed my blue, extremely swollen hand to her she showed all her “professionalism” by jumping back (literally) and shouting “Ah! Zhe shi shenme?!?!”. She then proceeded to misdiagnose me with a hematoma. When I found out what had happened I phoned the hospital to know whether they had used non-ionic or ionic contrast liquid (the first causes a mild condition that goes away by itself, the second might require emergency surgery and involves the risk of losing part of the hand). They couldn’t figure it out. O_o
At the same hospital, when I went to see the surgeon to get the results of my CT, he took a look at the images and went “oh no… there is a mass here. Oh, and here too…”. Only after I had (figuratively) crapped my pants he thought of checking with the radiologist, who then confirmed those were the hernia patches I had inserted during a surgery ten years ago (which this particular doctor knew about).[/quote]

That’s awesome! Just so you know, if you had had ionic contrast media in the soft tissues of your hand, you would have known right away. Sorry you had to wonder about that for a while though. Also just so you know, surgeons leap to similar weird conclusions in the west as well when they play radiologist. They usually are wise enough to stay mum before they read the CT report.

Try!

I always think what I would have reacted when I was in the clinic typing in the history and the foreign friend unbuttoned and showed his hairy chest all of a sudden. Even though I am very experienced and have been challenged by many kinds of unexpected situations, I still would have screamed “holy chest” loudly inside of me. :blush:

My standard practice is that I will ask the patients if they can take off their clothes before they really do it themselves. An unforeseen move would probably cause a little stir, especially by a foreign patient with an obviously different look. That’s why I can kind of understand the reaction of these “helpless” staff.

[quote=“Hokwongwei”]I can strongly recommend never going to NTU’s emergency room.
[/quote]

For that matter, I can also recommend avoiding the emergency room in any circumstances unless you really are bleeding to death or something. After breaking my foot a couple years ago, I went to the emergency at Taipei Medical Hospital. They X-rayed me, splinted my foot badly, charged me the extra emergency fees and then told me I’d have to come back and do it all over again with the orthopedic surgeon (no they couldn’t transfer me over). Given that you can get a walk-in appointment with almost any doctor/dept at the hospitals here, you might as well just go straight to the specialist you need to see in all but the most urgent cases.

[quote=“kau826”]I always think what I would have reacted when I was in the clinic typing in the history and the foreign friend unbuttoned and showed his hairy chest all of a sudden. Even though I am very experienced and have been challenged by many kinds of unexpected situations, I still would have screamed “holy chest” loudly inside of me. :blush:

My standard practice is that I will ask the patients if they can take off their clothes before they really do it themselves. An unforeseen move would probably cause a little stir, especially by a foreign patient with an obviously different look. That’s why I can kind of understand the reaction of these “helpless” staff.[/quote]

I’ve experienced a lot of blushing, averted glances, or looks of discomfort when having to disrobe for the doctors here, both young doctors, nurses, and old, experienced doctors. Frankly, the old ones often seem the most uncomfortable. Personally, I find this extremely unprofessional!!! A doctor/nurse should have no problem whatsoever looking at a naked human body of any type! And for god’s sake, lock the bloody door when your patients are (half) naked. Impatient patients here have a rude habit of forcing themselves into the doctor’s office without knocking to hand in their slip of paper or ask when their turn is.

Word. I can’t give a flying f**k about their cultural background. If they want to call themselves doctors and be taken seriously (by developped world standards, that is) they need to stop acting like that.

It’s like a mechanic being embarrassed to look under the good of a car. Crazy.

True. But I don’t think it’s only related to whether the medical staff is professional or not. When the situation is not emergent, the unfamiliarity with the way of interaction with foreign patients takes control and can possibly mess things up. Ten years ago, I broke my R’T hand overseas and was brought to a local clinic for possible external fixation. The doc held the syringe approaching me, and I found him forget to sterilize my skin. I graciously reminded him and from then on the procedure proceeded under my nervous inspection. So this fluster seems to happen in here and western countries alike. The “naked” stuff is only one of the examples.

I agree that we, as a professional, should not go panic in front of our patients. And I believe that most of the docs here won’t behave this way in an emergency. But when in a clinic, many of them seldom have a chance to learn how to face a patient from other countries, not to mention the misunderstanding created by language. It takes time to make things better, and I am optimistic.

Sorry, I still don’t understand how a man removing his shirt could have any effect on someone who chose the medical profession. It’s not like the guy has a second head on his chest.

Hmmm, now I know I shouldn’t take an example on the “naked” stuff. :stuck_out_tongue:

Honestly, I only have a vague thought, yet no clear explanation for this. Can I attribute it to the introverted characters of the people here? There’s another example, which can be traced back to the time that I had to provide assistance at the health screening center. I found it’s not uncommon that some examinees, who had already paid for the check-up, chose not to receive thorough physical examination, especially perineum and rectum. Patients’ attitudes somehow affect doctors’ expectation and preparation, I guess. So I won’t be surprised that some docs would overreact to nudity, no matter partial or total, intentional or unexpected. Someone just cares and doesn’t know how to cope with it.

If they can’t deal with semi naked or naked patients, they are not qualified to be doctors. Not even close. Not even 10%.