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How good is Thailand healthcare?


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The doctor that I saw in Lerdsin Hospital had worked in Australia for ten years, so I expect that he had all the certs that were required.


Lerdsin Hospital does not have all the flash that Bum has, but the healthcare was excellent and 30% the cost at Bum.

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Problem here is you guys are comparing the uncomparing. Indeed, reading many of you the USA sucks for a lot of reasons.


I know the Uk system is strange, you can't see the doc you like, same for the Netherlands I believe.


Belgium, Luxembourg and France are very good in my experience.


What you guys are doing is comparing apples with pears with mankoot.


Thai healtcare is reasoneably good in the expensive private hospitals, very low in state hospitals. There are private hospitals in every small town. I lived 4 years in Chumpon and you did need to know to which one to go. If someting serious happened to you, better to get transferred to Bangkok. A friends father payed for a chartered plane (200K baht?) to get him out of Chumpon, went to Phaya Thai 2 and had lots of problems there, the care being under the standard they expected (multiple fractures)

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  • 3 weeks later...

thalenoi & others still seem not to get the big picture thats not just apples & oranges :banghead:


example above:

"The doctor that I saw in Lerdsin Hospital had worked in Australia for ten years, so I expect that he had all the certs that were required.


Lerdsin Hospital does not have all the flash that Bum has, but the healthcare was excellent and 30% the cost at Bum."


so some one verified by suadum had a great experience in a bkk government hospital serviced by an 'international' doctor.


So someone might not appreciate that doctors anywhere denmark to greece & thailand to singapore aren't tied down to just one (private) hospital.

Instead they do much of their 'quality' work at government hospitals & then 'earn the living' doing a bit of quick moonlightning at private hospitals.


USA doesn't really compare to anywhere IMO at least its always the one & only 'exemption' on all the insurance policies I've seen & of course as travellers are not really welcome there's absolutely no need to double ones premium to include USA cover for an otherwise global policy ;)

Now it would be nice though if a lot of people felt there's something good coming out of the extreme costs, but I'm afraid not for the average joe :(

If at least free (road) emergency treatment are covered in the US it'd be nice, but is it like e.g. Europe, LOS etc?

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  • 2 weeks later...

The "big picture" is not my experience or your experience in a hospital and then extrapolating it to hig/low quality health care generalized statements for that country against some other personal experience in another country...


The big picture is looking at data from all angles like the Human development index ranking where thailand is ranked #58 in the world. One can choose many factors to compare but i will give you one: Thailand has 4,762 people for every one doctor as compared to any of the top ten countries (canada to sweden) where no one has a higher population rate of 446 per doctor. Most are in the 300 range....


Does one want to look at public heath care expenditure as a % of GDP. The top ten nations ranges from 6.5 to 13.3% with the average hovering near 9 percent. Thailand comes in at 1.1 % of GDP...


One can look at infant and adult mortality/morbity rates, child immunization rates, crude death rate, likelihood of dying from heart disease, cancer after age 65; AIDs, TB and Malaria rates per population etc and the list go on and on...


There are many hospital statistics like nosocomial infection rates or emergency response times to in-house codes or out in the field accidents that western countries have and developing countries don't keep nor have the finances/ability/know-how to do...


Do we have different definitions of "big picture"?


In fairness to thailand, it is like comparing apples to pineapples...


If one wants some other pinapples, then one needs to look at columbia and malaysia, countries that flank thailand on the HDI ranking....



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Nice list of items! Many things to think about.


For me, I compare the fact that I have no medical insurance in the USA, way too costly!


Thus, the better option is to seek medical care in LOS and pay cash.

I have found the care to be the same or better then in the USA, but this is only my very limited experience with no serious health issues.


I could see that the situation could easily swing the other way and I would be denouncing the medical care in LOS, but for now, quite pleased!

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"For me, I compare the fact that I have no medical insurance in the USA, way too costly!"


You are smart. I got medical insurance in the USA but find it almost impossible to get medical care. Why have medical insurance? Go to the emergency room and wait 5 - 8 -24 hours only to realize the hospital has not been taking new patients for some time. Call for an appointment with your primary care provider only to be told that an opening is available next month.

I am fortunate in the USA in that I am 1 hour away from Mexico. I can go to Mexico, get treated and return in the time it takes me to try to get an appointment.

Thailand's health care might not be the greatest, but at least you get seen whereas in the USA, which is built up as being the best but is a maze when it comes to trying to get medical care.

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I agree with you that US health care costs are out of control and have been for the last 25 years..


Everyone talks about the costs but they continue to increase every year because no one wants to their own salary to disappear or terminate new techical advancements or say enough is enogh for drug/medical research....If someone did, they would be called unethical...


Personally, I think the US has the best health care in the world; the problem lies is that it is ridculously expensive and absolutely should not cost what it does nor should insurance costs what it does...


So from a value standpoint, it is one of the worst. The problem is that health care is not like any other service one buys. If you but a cheap TV, then that is what you want or afford a nd same same with the most expensive model. Both customers are happy because it meets their needs in some fashion...


With healthcare, everyone whether poor or rich expects to be made whole or get better or eliminate that illness from their life. There is no sliding scale in terms of treatment. What is the doctor going to say, "well, the medicine required for you to get better is X cost, but since it is out of your budget, we will give just half the required dosage..."


Thailand has excellent value for particular consumerr markets (meaning us or people who have out-of-pocket money or insurance to cover all costs). My concern is the competency side, the lack of peer review, lack of regulatory watchdogs, the corruption in the culture, etc


Medical care and system mistakes are made in both health care markets, but percentagee-wise I would project a number far greater in thailand that many aren't even recognized or caught because sub-standard systems (defined by our own values and expectations) are not even in place...


The case of the american who died in transit was only brought to our attention beacuse of his peers. I would guess this is a common happening every day for average thais in and out of their hospitals and health care system...


One thing I know for certain is only one hospital in thailand is internationally accredited - (JCAHO). I believe of the 5,000 or so hospitals in america, 80% or so reach accreditation which is the highest recognition/certification/accreditation one can obtain in the health care industry. And since i have been through six JCAHO surveys (a survey every three years) and I will tell you it is a gruelling nightmare of a process and we as customers pay for that added cost...


So we are face with the dilemma of wanting our cake and eating it too..


And since the Thai hospitals that westerners use are basically no different in diagnosis and treatment design, they are following the same cost structure and thus will follow suit. BHI has had cost increase every year since i moved here in 2000 with many of the years being double digit costs...


So unless something drastically occurs here as well, do you wish to guess what a 2007 cost will be in say 2017?


It is like a race to an imaginary finish line defined only by one's own eventual death....



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  • 4 weeks later...

In general I agree with most of CB's observations in this thread. I have had the misfortune to get extremely ill in Pattaya and one night had to go to the International Hospital (the one on Sukumvit) and get admitted through the ER and ended up spending several days in that hospital and had some procedures done on me while there. At one point I went into shock and came pretty close to dying but amazingly, they managed to put the right stuff into the IV in time and snapped me out of it. I also have received a lot of out patient care in various places in Pattaya and BKK so have some experience with receiving medical care in Thailand.


In general, I would say the customer service/experience and the relatively inexpensive cost for medical care for farang in Thailand is outstanding, hence many positive comments in this thread about how wonderful medical services are in Thailand. And that's just great for most routine stuff, but, for anything complicated or not clear cut, I would much rather be treated in the US for all the reasons CB has spelled out.


Even though I personally was overall treated pretty well and the cost was quite reasonable compared to what it would have cost in the US, some of the things I observed while being cared for in Thailand were pretty scary.


First of all, the lack of regard for proper sterile technique on the part of many of the nurses was pretty appalling. Rarely did anyone wear latex gloves except in surgery, and one time a nurse dropped the IV needle (or whatever it is called) that she was about to connect to the IV already inserted in my arm, on the floor. In the US of course, they would have thrown it out and used a new one. In Thailand, they just picked it up off the floor and continued to connect it to the IV line inserted in my arm like it was no big deal. Another time I was having blood drawn for a lab test and the nurse coughed into her hand holding the needle apparatus just before she stuck it in my arm.


In my case, nothing bad came of anything and I got appropriate treatment (even got treated with a highly effective medication that is not FDA approved and hence not available in the US) and ultimately I recovered. But some of the things I saw were pretty scary and also there were communication difficulties even though all the doctors who treated me spoke pretty good English.


In sum, I definitely would not want to undergo any particularly complex or dangerous procedures in Thailand unless absolutely necessary.


Yes, in Thailand it is really great to be able to see a specialist at a moments notice without an appointment w/o insurance for less than the co-pay would be in the US, and it is great to have a bevy of attentive cute nurses attending to your every need (well almost).


Nevertheless, despite the inconveniences one must usually put up with in getting quality medical care in the States, for anything life threatening or complicated, I would much rather take my chances in the US (assuming one has good insurance), although for sure, it would not be as luxurious or pleasant in many regards as the upscale Thai medical experience. But one's odds of getting appropriate diagnosis and the highest quality most advanced medical treatment are much greater in the US than in Thailand, even though the nurses usually aren't as nice or as attentive.


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