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A Chinese Hospital Visit (by Mark Tolson)

The Chinese hospital can be a very complicated place to go. Doctor’s offices like we have in the States don’t really exist here and so everyone goes to the hospital for everything. There are smaller clinics and hospitals and some do specialize in certain things.

I was just at the hospital with our youngest daughter (2 years old) and I thought I would write about the process that we went through. We have been to the hospital before, but this was the first time that I went by myself. Because of the complicated process (see below) we usually always took a Chinese friend with us. It was 1 in the morning and there was no one to call. It was Chinese New Year, so who knew if the hospital would be well staffed (that is like going at 1 AM on Christmas morning). Our daughter was having a hard time breathing and we couldn’t keep her temperature down. So I decided to take her to the hospital by myself.

Here is the process:

  • Arrived at the the hospital, get a card for parking and go in. 
  • Tell registration we are here to see a doctor and pay the fee upfront.
  • Go find the room number they told me to go to. Found the room number, but no one is there. Ask a nearby doctor what to do. He told me to find a nurse and the nurse will find the doctor. I found a nurse and the nurse went into a nearby room and woke up the doctor. I was told to wait in the room.
  • The doctor comes in I hand her the book and receipt of payment. She ask what the problems are and examines my daughter. As this is going on another family walks in with their sick child in the same room as us. The Doctor concludes what the problem is and says that she needs a shot. She told me what to do and then come back after she got the shot.
  • We leaved the room and go pay for the shot at registration. Then we take the receipt to the pharmacy and pick up the medication. Now we have to find another room where they will give her the shot. We find the room and there is no one there and there is no nurse close by. There are some people dealing with problems in the hallway and a random guy sleeping on a chair. The family with the other sick child arrives to the same room and we wait together. Finally, the doctor comes and realizes no one is there and calls the nurse. The nurse gives her the shot. We return to the doctor’s office.
  • When we arrive back at the doctor’s office she tells us that she thinks we should get some blood test. I agree and we leave the office to go to registration and pay for the blood test. Then we start searching for the place to get the blood test. This time it was harder to find. We asked a couple people and found our way there. We gave the receipt and papers to the nurse and after a few minutes she took the blood. (It was basically a walk up window and you put your arm in the window and she pricks your finger.) Now we had to wait for 20 minutes until we got the results. She handed me the results and we went back to the doctor’s office.
  • The doctor looked at the blood test and made her conclusions and prescribed us some medicine to take home. I took the prescription to registration and paid for it. Then took the receipt to the pharmacy and picked it up and returned to the doctor’s office. There was some confusion between me, the pharmacist and the doctor, so the doctor had to go and fix it. Finally, she explained how and when to give my daughter the medicine and sent us home. We thanked her and left.
  • We got int he car and went to leave. I had to honk the car horn to wake up the person that takes the money, give them the card, paid the parking fee and drove home.

As you probably see from the above process, it can be a little complicate. You also have to pay for everything upfront. (Not to mention my 2-year-old doesn’t like needles and so I am dealing with a crying toddler.) Now image this process in the daytime when there are tons of people there. It actually went really smooth for us because there was only one other person there seeing the same doctor.

The conditions of the hospital are not very nice especially if you compare them to those in the States. But after being in China for a long time, it because normal.

So what was my response to all this? I can honestly say it was “thankfulness.” After seeing my daughter be sick and struggle to breath and didn’t want to do anything but lay on my chest, I was thankful there was a Chinese hospital that was nearby and could help. The doctors were kind and they gave the right treatment to my daughter and helped make her well. Yes, the conditions and process have to be adapted to, but in the end they accomplished the same thing that I want went I go to an American hospital.

May I not be so vain to be upset over a dirty floor or a wall that needs a new coat of paint, but be thankful for what truly matters.

 

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