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RBS

Philippines Hospital Experience - 2 of 2 Parts

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RBS

The first episode can be found here.

 

Final Episode:

 

My air ambulance flight arrived at NAIA Manila terminal two. I was in a walking state but as a precaution was wheelchair bound to the waiting ambulance. This ambulance was getting closer to what I was use to in Australia. It had a real ambulance stretcher type bed and a larger first-aid kit. From NAIA to Makati Medical Centre (MMC) was a relatively smooth ride. My Geman doctor travelled with me.

 

At MMC, it only took a few minutes to go through the admission procedures. My travel insurance people by now had got things sorted. From admission, it was straight up to the 5th floor to my private room.

 

My room in MMC was of similar size to that in Notre Dame Hospital (NDH) in Cotabato City. However this room had air conditioning, cable TV, separate settee/bed for the assistant, relatively new hospital bed and hot water in the bathroom. All this and the room was actually P200 less per day than what was charged in NDH. There was no WiFi or LAN access, however I had my cell phone that could be used as a wireless modem into the Smart network.

 

Still being within the Philippines hospital system, I again needed to organise an assistant. This time I contacted Miss D, a girl I use to sponsor through high school in Oriental Mindoro. After graduating from high school, Miss D was working as a housemaid in Cavite. Her employer was able to give her time off work to travel to Manila so that she could look after me while in hospital. Miss D arrived the day after my admission into MMC.

 

Miss D was a bit like Miss W in being rather naive when it comes to certain male bodily parts. Luckily by now I was able to generally wash most of my own body using my left arm. I still could not wash my back or left arm, so Miss D did this for me while standing outside of the shower behilde the curtain so as to avoid witnessing my "private" parts. Other duties of Miss D included making my bed, helping me change my bedclothes, shaving me, assisting in feeding me and shopping for those little necessities of life.

 

Soon after entering MMC, I underwent tests to determine the extent of any complications that may have developed. Fortunately there were no major complications, just a small amount of fluid in my chest cavity that needed to dissipate. I was still in a lot of pain with my broken ribs and cracked shoulder blade. Medical opinion was that I would probably spend about one week in MMC followed by a couple of weeks outside recuperation before flying back home to Australia. However, this is the Philippines where nothing goes as planned.

 

Towards the end of my first week in MMC, the wound in the side of my chest from the NDH drain became infected. This should not have presented any problems that normal antibiotics could not cure. I started out on a broad spectrum antibiotic - no improvement. Tests were then done to try and determine the nature of the bacteria so that a more focused antibiotic could be administered. This carried on for another 8 weeks in MMC, trying various antibiotics, both orally and intravenously. Some stated to work but then the bacteria would again take over. In the end, my Doctor decided to try his "antibiotic of last resort". This antibiotic was rarely prescribed. I was told that it cost P5,000 per pill and I needed 3 pills per day for 7 days. So, I started my P15k per day medication. My last-resort medication was working.

 

After a few weeks in MMC, it was decided that I should undergo physiotherapy to build up my stamina and particularly my right arm that had become very week due to the damaged shoulder blade. I had a one-hour session with my rather good looking physio each day (Miss D stayed in my room.). This was done in MMC's basement physiotherapy rooms. I referred to these rooms as the "house of pain", but really the physios were fantastic.

 

During my stay in MMC, I needed to extent my visa. I had been granted a 59-day stay upon arrival, however this was fast approaching and I knew I would need to extend. I contacted the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation and explained my story. They were fantastic. The next day an officer from the bureau visited me in hospital. Together we filled out all the necessary paperwork. I gave her the money for fees and my passport. That afternoon, the officer returned with my passport (extension granted) and the official receipt covering all of the fees that I paid. I offered to pay this officer extra for her troubles, but she would not accept anything, just saying she was happy to be able to help.

 

The only real complaint I had about my stay in MMC was the food. Variety was much better than the rice and smelly-bony fish of NDH. The only problem was that ALL meals were served cold. The meals started off as hot when they left the galley. It was just that by the time mine reached me, they were cold. Again I was in luck. The nurses' station on my floor had a microwave oven in their tea room. After a bit of sweet-talking, Miss D was able to use the microwave to reheat my meals.

 

During my final week in MMC, my Doctor decided that I would be let out for a short walk each day. Now this is the Philippines. To be able to leave the hospital, each time I needed the correct paperwork. This consisted of written permission from my Doctor, written permission from the attending MMC Doctor, written notice from the head nurse and a final written permission from the hospital's accounts departments. All these permissions are checked at the exit by the guard on duty. If anything is out of order, you were not allowed out. Those few hours of freedom during my final week were like heaven to me.

 

After a total of 11 weeks in Philippines hospitals, I was eventually released. I moved into my hotel room, still with Miss D looking after me. I was still required to visit my German Doctor's surgery every two to three days for a check on my progress. I also discovered that airlines generally will not carry you during the first two weeks after a hospital admission. I had two weeks in my hotel room all paid for (including all meals) by my insurance company.

 

As a thank you to Miss D, I bought her a rather good cell phone. As a thank you to her employer, I bought their family a DVD player.

 

My two-week riding holiday in the Philippines stretch out to about three months. I arrived back in Australia in June, just a few days before my birthday.

 

Epilogue:

 

I was again in Manila in November 2008 on business. This was about eight months after my motorcycle crash. Who should I then meet in my hotel but nurse Elsa from Cotabato City. A month or so after I left NDH, she left NDH and moved to Manila where she got a job in the hotel where I was now staying. She had progressed quickly through the hotel system, starting in housekeeping, then front office and later into accounts. Unfortunately (for me), Elsa was now pregnant and engaged to be married to one of the house boys in the hotel.

 

Miss D is now living in Manila and working as a part-time live-in housemaid for a good friend of mine. She starts her studies in accounting at Far Eastern University in June 2009. I am meeting all her education expenses.

Edited by Admin
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samatm

Thanks for sharing.. good read. I would say that traveling alone you were most fortunate to have been helped by your villiage Kaptitan...And also that you had so much cash on you. Whats the Moral of the story...get a good travel insurance? carry enough cash for a major medical, or put your Elsa in a hotel with chambermaids not houseboys?

 

Seriously, Did your health insurance in 0z take care of most of your bills along with your travel insurance. What was the Air Ambulance like? (or was that regular pal flight ..) was your 15K antibiotics paid by insurance. What did you do about your bike in village? What was your total hospitalization cost? Again thanks a lot. glad you're still with us!

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RBS
Thanks for sharing.. good read. I would say that traveling alone you were most fortunate to have been helped by your villiage Kaptitan...And also that you had so much cash on you. Whats the Moral of the story...get a good travel insurance? carry enough cash for a major medical, or put your Elsa in a hotel with chambermaids not houseboys?

 

Seriously, Did your health insurance in 0z take care of most of your bills along with your travel insurance. What was the Air Ambulance like? (or was that regular pal flight ..) was your 15K antibiotics paid by insurance. What did you do about your bike in village? What was your total hospitalization cost? Again thanks a lot. glad you're still with us!

I do not moralise.

 

Yes, I was fortunate to have the Kapitan to help me. This was my first major crash in the Philippines, having spent four years riding there and covering over 50k km on all major islands except Masbate. I generally ride alone (preferring that) and sometimes with a friend on his own bike. In all my riding throughout the Philippines, I have never experienced any trouble with the locals. Indeed, they have always been most kind and helpful.

 

As for the P30k cash, I had withdrawn that from my MetroBank account while first passing through Cotabato City that same morning as my crash as I needed it to cover my expenses to Dipolog and shipping/transport back to Manila. I was not sure if there was a MetroBank branch in Dipolog/Dapitan.

 

Health insurance in Australia is "free", however it only covers you for treatment in Australia. Due to my work, I do a lot of overseas travel so I always maintain 12-month comprehensive travel insurance,

 

I'm not sure on the type of aeroplane for the air ambulance other than it was a twin turbo-prop private charterer who specialised in medical air evacuations.

 

My travel insurance directly paid my NDH hospital and medical bill, my air ambulance and all my travel, hospital, medical and medication bills in Manila (including the P15k per day antibiotics). I later was reimbursed for my out-of-pocket expenses in Mindanao (ambulances, medication and NDH deposit), two -weeks hotel expenses in Manila, additional air fare back to Australia and cost of repairs to the bike. My travel insurance also later paid me AUD50 per day that I was in hospital.

 

The bike, a Stryker 150, was one that had been lent to me by the owner of Kymco Motorcycles (Philippines). Kymco arranged for the bike to be shipped back to Manila and repaired. The repair bill was about P20k.

 

My estimate of the total hospital/medical/medication cost is about P1.5 million or more.

 

I still ride extensively in the Philippines and Australia, with some other riding in Malaysia and Indonesia when I get the chance.

Edited by RBS

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bikerdave

Cant keep a good man down. Glad to hear you came out well. Ride on brother!

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rbm
Cant keep a good man down. Glad to hear you came out well. Ride on brother!

 

 

I agree with bikerdave and send also best wishes to RBS.

 

I have read with much interest the experiences of RBS, as I have also rode extensively throughout the Philippines and continue to do so. So far without any major problems. The people I have met once one is out of the cities have been most considerate and kind. I can recall on one occasion after sheltering under a tree during heavy rain in mindanao I left my small back pack there on a branch, it contained about 15K plus camera and cell. Remembering some 20 minutes after my departure I raced back, the back pack had gone......Soon after some people came out from this tiny nipa hut with my bag in hand....laughing. When I tried to give them something.... they would have nothing of it. had to convince them...for the kids.

 

Yesterday I received my medical certivicate (all done on line and a phone call) from 1 cover, I am pleasantly surprised and happy to of stumbled across the posts of RBS, meaning ,now I truely have peace of mind during my travels. I have never heard of an insurance company paying as willingly as 1 cover did for RBS.

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jaimezee
My estimate of the total hospital/medical/medication cost is about P1.5 million or more.

 

I just want to make sure that I got my zeros in the correct position: Approximately $30,000 USD??

 

And about those miracle pills, the ones that killed the infection. Were those actually about $100 USD each??

wow...Not that you were in the condition to get them, but I wonder if those, too, were available cheaper across the street?

 

Also, about the need to prepay at the hospitals: Do you think Visa or Mastercard would have been an option?? I always thought, that a credit card (along with the ability to pay the bill ;-) ), was a good way to get you out of a pinch, in an emergency. I always considered this to be safer than carrying, the equivalent of a couple of hundred bucks (USD).

 

I certainly appreciate any comments from anybody that wants to chime in.

 

jaimezee

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Mik

I have only one experience with Cebu Doctors' Hospital. The doctor and anesthesiologist wanted cash, but the hospital accepted my credit card. (It's a US credit card so the credit card company charged an additional 2% fee for foreign currency exchange.) I would advise that you keep a high limit credit card for emergencies. If needed, your wife or trusted friend could always use it to get cash advances. But try to build up your savings account so your credit card will be a last resort.

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