Taiwan Medical System

Hello! Sort of new, off the boat. I have been in Taiwan for 2.5 months now, teaching English. Recently developed a UTI, urinary Tract Infection.
This was 3 weeks ago. I live out in the boonies in Sanxia, but thankfully we have a hospital nearby. Not sure how recommended it is…given recent events I will explain further on.

Went to the ER for this 3 weeks ago because my teaching hours are off the wall-weird and I don’t have time to walk 30 minutes (bus takes just as long), navigate the numbers and system, and wait around for my appointment. Nobody spoke english in the receptionist area and some western guy helped me find my way from the Chinese Medicine Hospital to the ER. That was very helpful. His Taiwanese friend saw that I was utterly flummoxed as to why I was in a dentist/chinese medicine hospital and took me to her friend who could speak English.

Anyways, the ER visit wasn’t TOO long. I waited for an hour, which sounds like it may actually be pretty good compared to other hospitals in Taipei. I was seen for 5 minutes. The doctor did not test my urine, just asked questions. I was confused then, when he prescribed me medication (for 3 days, sigh!!!) Without a culture taken…because antibiotic resistance, right???
Well I took this darn medication and it made me sick almost every night, but I plugged through. I returned later to an actual appointment to receive the rest if the prescription. I found this annoying because like I said, I really don’t have time to wander around the hospital… I also don’t know the hours if operation, which may help with this lack of time…

Suffice it to say, the meds did not work. I noticed pain returning after about day 5 but still plugged through because it was on and off. 3 weeks later, it became FLARING so I returned.

The moment I step into the appointment, the doctor recieved a phone call and proceeded to take this phonecall in the middle of our conversation. I had been explaining my symptoms and woooop, phone call. It was weird.

Then he kept asking me if it burns when I “peepee”…the language barrier was a little rough because I couldn’t get him to understand that this UTI never went away, that I had had flare-ups. He wanted to prescribe me the exact same medication that didn’t work. And I said NO because all in all, it made me sick. A lot. So he prescribed something else.

They finally DID take a test of my urine, but I won’t find out for another week. I still don’t understand giving people antibiotics BEFORE knowing the outcome of the bacteria or resistance…

Also nobody checked to see what current medication I am taking. So of course, ai hopped on the web to check the medication he gave me. Moxifloxacin.

Everywhere I look, even scientific articles, they state that moxifloxacin is not recommended for uti’s. Like, specifically, not recommended. They are not FDA approved due to the fact that they don’t work with the urinary system, in vivo from what I have read. They have little success.

Can someone pls tell me why the hell this guy prescribed me medication that does not work for the illness I have, when there are about 10 other ones that would work better? Also I have read that rare but serious side effects outweigh the benefits of this medication.

I mean…come ON. Are there any other experiences out there or recommendations for people? Is this common? Should I be less concerned than I am? I have taken 3 doses ans still have pain in the back, bladder, and when I pee.


1 Like


Go to the pharmacy and ask for either Cephalexin, Ceftriaxone or Fosfomycin if you indeed have a UTI. They should sell it to you if you try to explain. Or go back to the doctor and ask for these. In taiwan, and in most of the world. You got to be your own advocate and ask for something for it to be done. Doctors miss things and don’t know how you feel.

Oh, and you need to see a urologist, not the ER doctor. The ER doctor unless youre dying and the head of the department comes, usually are the dumbest ones. You got 3 days worth of pills because they can only prescribe 3 days worth at ER. Antibotics don’t work in 3 days…hence why it’s still a problem.


And if worried about language barrier, have pictures of actual antibioitic boxes or containers on phone. Just show pictures.


She should be fine if he writes in down in english and they type into their system. Drugs are all listed by english in most systems I encountered. But pictures also help.

1 Like

Ok! I didn’t know pharmacies could do that! I am so glad I asked on here. I have found that advocating is a huge thing. I am usually rather polite, but kinda got steamrolled by the doctor. I will try the pharmacy tomorrow! Those are also everywhere and easier to access…

I initially went back for the 2nd round after 3 days, and that’s why I continued the medication, because I thought it had worked, but then it didn’t.

Urologists are all in Taipei, about 1 hr, 20-40 min away by bus. I should try uber. It’s mostly difficult not know the hours of times open or trying to schedule an appointment.

Thank you for your feedback!!!

I actually brought everything with me…lol. But it was such a fast appointment. He started typing the prescription the moment I was describing symptoms…I completely forgot to show him what I’m on. Still, he should have asked.

He seemed very overworked, seeing a lot of patients in a day. That could have to do with it. Thanks for the feedback.

Also, not sure where you received the moxifloxacin, but if in ER, it might have been the only thing available at that time and if the main pharmacy was closed.

1 Like

Nope…it was a scheduled appointment at 11 am. Not the ER and I went to the pharm to get them. :confused: Bad prescription?

Am I crazy for thinking this wasn’t exactly the right choice?

Another explanation is that hospitals buy the drugs in bulk and try to get discounts and get money from the gov for drugs under NHI under a cost list. So it’s common for doctors to prescribe the drug they get the most profit from first and not always the best drug for you.

One of the problems with universal healthcare, but no system is perfect.


I think it’s somewhat common worldwide for a doctor to immediately try and give antibiotic plus other medicine relief for a painful UTI before test results. Well at least I’ve seen it occur more than a couple times.

1 Like

Wow. I only ever was in the US when I had uti’s and they always took a lab test…but no, maybe they did prescribe me something right away. I think I usually got a phone call the next day though, and lab results were fast. So it was comforting to know that the drugs worked. Right now I have no clue except for how my body feels.

It’s a different system and there are more people to process here. I understand. I just wish it didn’t take a week for lab results. I’m paranoid of kidney infection…

They say a week, I always get my lab results in 3-5 days. Sometimes you get lucky and the next day because they test a whole bunch at one time. But I lived in Taipei, maybe a bit faster.

1 Like

Oh also I just realized I have terrible anxiety about correcting doctors because in the past I was yelled at by a dentist for asking questions that supposedly doubted his credentials…

Hmmm okay! How did you find out about the results? Do you have to go to the hospital or do they call you?

I think they just call you and tell you. I can’t remember so i’m not certain.

1 Like

Okay. Well, to the pharmacy it is. Thanks again so much.

1 Like

Good luck and welcome to Taiwan. Hope you stick around on here, always nice to get more posters.

1 Like

It’s so great to find a community!

isn’t it because you rejected the first med? You said pain returning after about day 5. Doesn’t it mean the first med did work, but you didn’t take it long enough?

And it is a little weird that you trust online strangers rather than a doctor at a hospital who actually saw you.

Sanxia is NOT the boonies. It’s a big place with a fantastic busy downtown core, old and new.

You went to En Zhu Gong which is a bit of a dump. Try Far Eastern in Banqiao for big modern hospital. It’s just down the road from Sanxia.

Best advice (applies to Western countries too) is to use Google! Can’t stress this enough, use Google and become your own doctor. Research your problem and know exactly what meds you want.

Yes you’ve righty pointed out one of those great Taiwanese traits, the answering of phone calls mid sentence. It’s get worse way worse than that