The thai doctor yelled at me, he was angry.
– You have a problem, he said to me with a loud voice.
I don’t know if he was asking me whether I had a problem or he was telling me I now had a problem with him. Probably both.
I did not bother to argue with him, the doctor had lost face and that is one of the worst things that can happen to a thai national. Seen with his eyes I had not respected his authority, I had gone above him by complaining to his superior.
An inferior being had dared to question the system and the mighty doctor, that was something he was not used to.
– You must wait for me, the doctor ordered me.
That is where the doctor was wrong. I did not have to wait for him, especially since he was not working that day and did not answer his phone.
I was not in prison, I had not been admitted to a psychiatric locked ward. I was still a free person with rights.
The question I asked myself was: Do people in Thailand have rights at all or are they just slaves? I am not a slave, I am an individual who is able to make my own decisions and if I feel treated badly I will fight back.
I stayed at a government hospital for a week, a week where I learned a lot about the daily life in the hospital. I learned that thai culture is deeply rooted in Thailand’s tradition of slavery.
But let me start the story from the beginning. It was never the doctor I had a problem with. He was not supposed to be in the story at all.
It was a few demon nurses from hell that almost drove me crazy. Some of the nurses are some really mean bitches. Not all of them, just a few.
They came into the room where we slept to check that everything was alright. No problem, it is their job, they are supposed to check the pulse and blood pressure, measure the temperature etc.
They entered the room, turned on all the nights, checked something and then left without switching off any of the lights. Well, it was in the middle of the night and naturally we wanted to sleep. So why did they leave the lights on? Eventually I got tired of switching off the lights myself.
The nurses treat patients as people with no rights. When you enter their territory you must follow their rules.
The nurses were not being nice but I kept calm. After all I saved a lot of money by staying at a government hospital, actually I ended up saving 350.000 baht compared to what I would have to pay at a private hospital.
The service is bad, I would not use the word service at all, the nurses do not inform about anything, some of them don’t care. Of course their salary is low and that might explain why the service is bad. You get what you pay for.
I noticed there was a hierarchy among the nurses, just like you see in prison movies. I had nothing better to do so I observed the staff at the hospital.
A few days after the operation we talked to the doctor and asked when we could go home. It could be tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, all up to us, he said.
– Great, we are going home tomorrow, I can get my life back, the nurses from hell will be out of my life for good, I said to myself.
The next morning I woke up early and started packing and preparing to go home. I went to the doctors office to inform him but I was told he would not be working that day. Oh no, if the doctor was not working then who was going to prescribe the medicine?
I was told it was no problem, the nurses would call the doctor and everything could be arranged over the phone. At 8 o’clock in the morning we informed the nurses that we wanted to go home that day.
At 10:30 I asked a nurse about the progress, I asked whether they had contacted the doctor yet. She did not know anything, nobody had told her that we wanted to go home.
We had been waiting for 2 and a half hour and nobody had done anything. Later we were informed that we might not be able to leave the hospital that day because the nurses were not able to contact the doctor, he was not answering his phone.
OK, enough was enough, I might have saved close to half a million baht but I would not stay one more night just because a doctor was not answering his phone. We were not receiving any treatment, there was no purpose whatsoever for us to stay another night.
As mentioned, enough was enough, and I was determined to put an end to this madness. I found someone, told the story, a phone call was made and then things started to happen.
The problem was that we were informed orally by the doctor that we could leave BUT the nurses were not informed. The nurses needed to be informed in writing before they could release us from the hospital.
The doctor’s boss signed the release papers and I were able to pay the bill and we could finally go home.
It was at that moment that the doctor arrived and started yelling at me telling me that I had to wait for him. I did not expect to run into the doctor a few minutes before leaving the hospital.
The doctor was not happy but I did not care. The fault was his, he should have informed the nurses that there was no need for us to stay any longer. It is madness that we should occupy a room that someone really sick might need.
After working very hard we were able to leave the hospital at 2 o’clock in the afternoon.
Did I do the right thing? Should I have stayed one more night just to please everybody? It would not have killed me but I wanted my life back. I wanted to go home. I might have stayed one more night if the nurses had not been bothering me the way they did.
I don’t blame the doctor, he has too many patients to look after and too little time for each patient. I do blame the nurses for the way they run the ward. There are just too many rules. One of the nurses told me that they normally do not allow the patients to leave the hospital until after 4 o’clock in the afternoon. Notice the keywords which are ‘they do not allow’. The nurses make the rules, it reminds me more of a prison than of a hospital.
This story I have written for myself. Not to complain, not to change the system, just to make sure I don’t forget. I know in time everything fades and this is a story I want to remember. This is important for me because I learned something. When I learn I grow. I most certainly don’t have a desire to go through it again but in a weird sense I am glad it happened. I am definitely glad that I saved a lot of money.
I really hope I never have to go back to that place.
Also read part 1 of this story.