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Quality of Health Care in the Philippines

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My friends and family back in the USA have asked me several times to return to the USA due to my age and health care here. I worked in hospitals for 35 years on the West Coast of USA and was a patient in several hospitals over my 71 years to date. In the hospital as a patient in 6 of them in California and Maryland state with things ranging from broken bones to cancer surgeries. And I have been a patient in 2 here and been in several others for various reasons.

Health Care here is different than what I would find in the US. No question on that, but make no mistakes it is only different, not worse. In the US if you are in the hospital in the States, your family and friends come in a visit you for a bit then they go home. If you need something you press you Nurse Call Button and when they have time the Nurse will walk down to see what you need or they will ask over the speaker system. The Nurses then take care of your needs. They are wonderful, caring professionals but they are very busy dealing with many patients, they are overworked and always stressed. Comes with the job and you the patient pay for that service. Healthcare costs a lot in the USA. Most of the hospitals in the USA have the latest CT Scanners, full Lab Equipment, MRI units and much more. And you pay for those too when you pay for your visit. And for the most part, you get good service from caring Medical professionals.

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Here the first difference that I noticed was no Nurse call button to push, Nurses only take care of things that a trained nurse needs to do, 1) IV care, 2) Meds, 3) Patient Assessments, 4) Emergencies. Just to name the major issues. In my case my wife and if she is not available a family member stays with me, she feeds me, makes sure I drink water, helps me to the bathroom or takes care of the bedpan, I know gross and helps me shower, plus the doctor writes out the needed meds and the family goes out to the drug store and purchases them. But the family does that for the family here. And if there is an emergency she gets the Nurse. And guess what our bill is smaller than what it is in the USA. Nurses are not busy doing non-nursing things. So the labor cost is less and the Nurses are not so stressed.

Next, not all hospitals have everything like in California or the USA. If you are living in a small city then most likely the hospital does not have a CT, MRI, Nuc Med unit nor all the latest Lab machines or Cath Labs. A friend that lives here that is a Doctor (trained and practiced) in California told me a few years back coming here made her rely on her training and knowledge and not rely on machines as much. It made her a better doctor in her mind. Here it is a regional system found in a few parts of USA. You go to a small hospital that does the first assessment and decides if they can deal with it or send you to the big hospital in a big city. The small hospitals do not have the big expensive devices. So if I have something major happen then we go to a big city that has the tools needed, along with the Specialist Doctors. I have friends that have had major surgeries here and they all praise their care and the outcomes, be it open heart, cancer of various parts of the body or stroke. This system works and the nice thing about it is that the price is not bankrupting the country.

Both systems render good service given by trained professionals that care for their patients and only want them to get well and be happy with their families. But do not put down the system here. My nephew is in Xavier University Hospital in Cagayan de Oro with Dengue Fever, 3 years ago he was there in PICU fighting for his life with Dengue, and today he was allowed to go to a private room after spending a week in PICU with Dengue, again. Today he has a smile on his face and my sweet, wonderful wife also has a smile just like the rest of her family. The medical care here is good. And I will say my care as a patient, all 3 times was as good as my care in the USA.

And just as a heads up, another big difference is patient information privacy is not a big concern here. But no big deal, the family is there for you if you need help. If it is that much of an issue, take a road trip to another city and see a doctor without all your family there or nearby. Easy workarounds are always good.

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Luke

I am almost 71 years old, I retired in 2013 from Adventist Health where I was the Director of Corp. Department of Clinical Engineering for 18 of their Hospitals and my wife and I moved out of California and went to our home in. the Philippines. Over the last 5 years we have had many adventures here in the Islands as well as the world. Relaxing and enjoying life and each others company.

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Bob New York
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Bob New York

I was hospitalized in Philippines with Pneumonia. The care I received was nothing short of excellent and the bottom line cost was only a fraction of what it would have been in the USA. My insurance reimbursed me for the costs upon my return home from vacationing in Philippines.

David Haldane
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David Haldane

I’ve been hospitalized once here — for three days with intestinal amoebas — and completely concur with your analysis. Don’t know why Americans are so inclined to put down health care everywhere else, especially in poorer countries like the Philippines, but, in general, they are just dead wrong.

Mike Williams
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Mike Williams

Luke, thanks for the good, useful info.

Ron
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Ron

I have had three friends die here of simple medical negligence. If your in need of critical care, fly to Singapore or Guam. Face it, all the best doctors go abroad for better pay, even if as nurses. My examples: 1) Randy – hit by Jeepney. Left in hospital for 4 days with his leg cut open because doctors said need to be able to clean the wound. He died after shock set in. 2) Steven – playing rugby, scratch became infected and died of blood poisoning months later. Doctors only gave him pain killers and said it would pass.… Read more »

Rob Ashley
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Rob Ashley

Luke: I have never had any problem with medical care here and I am quite comfortable with it. My son’s friend was working in Thailand, a country with some similarities to the The Philippines. He got some infection in his leg and could hardly walk. he returned to the US and at his mother’s urging, went to US doctors. They first, because of fear of negligence and lawsuits which seem to be a cornerstone of American life, had to eliminate all the things his condition was not. This cost him $2000 with no improvement of his condition. He returned to… Read more »

John Reyes
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John Reyes

Luke: On the same day I was discharged from a hospital in Northern Virginia for diverticular bleeding a few years back, I was visited in my room by a doctor I had never seen during my entire 3-day hospital stay. Standing at the foot of my bed that morning, he introduced himself to me as one of the consulting gastroenterologist my personal GI had consulted. The meeting was brief; less than 2 minutes long. The conversation went like this. “Good morning, Mr. Reyes, I am Dr. Joe Blow. I noticed that you are being discharged today. I hope you are… Read more »

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