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Eye surgery re-do for free

Rather than parrot all the usual stories about medical tourism in Thailand, on this blog we try to focus on actual first hand accounts of medical services received in the Kingdom. So here we have a first hand account from a patient who had eye surgery in Thailand and the story has an usual twist to it. The patient writes:

I have this problem, and have had it ever since moving to Southeast Asia two years ago. My body hates the dirty air. Well, not so much my body as my eye. My right eye, and only my right eye, constantly develops a large purple bump under the eyelid, one that can only be removed through surgical procedure.

After two failed surgeries in Vietnam, I gave up on medical care over there and decided I would have Thai doctors take care of it when I moved to Bangkok in June.

I had a Thai friend take me to a local hospital where, after a few minutes of simple vision tests and probing the bump with metallic tools, they broke the good news: “You’re having surgery again today.” And in those words. Unlike the Vietnamese hospitals, the doctor here, as well as the nursing staff, spoke tangible English.

Fifteen minutes later, I was walking out of the hospital with a giant bandage over my eye, a baggy filled with pills and eyedrops, and 850 baht lighter than when I walked in. The surgery was a success. Oh, and it was relatively painless.

I took all of the medicine that I was asked to, and followed each of the doctor’s short list of orders. All except for one; she told me to apply pressure to the wound with a hot towel, and this was something I deemed unnecessary and just kind of shrugged off.

And guess what? This little oversight is what caused me to go back to the hospital to have surgery for a FOURTH time. That’s right; the bump came back.

The surgery, under the jurisdiction of Dr. Tippawan, the same doctor from before, was longer, more consistent and more meticulous than the first surgery. Also, there was an extra nurse there to facilitate the process. Everything went smoothly.

When it came time to pay, I made my way to the billing desk where I waited for a couple of minutes until a cute nurse came out and told me just to go home. I couldn’t believe it! The doctor felt it was HER fault I needed a second surgery, and offered me the operation completely free. There’s was no way. I stood in that lobby and demanded that they let me offer them something. Finally, they put together a “bill” to let me walk out of there feeling like I contributed. Grand total: 150 baht.

Merely a week after the surgery, the problem starting RE-APPEARING. But I was prepared. I had purchased a water heater like the doctor recommended (not having hot water in my apartment and all) and applied a steaming towel to my eye everyday. A few short days later, the eye problem was gone, where it will stay forever.

Thanks to the hospital for going above and beyond the call of duty. I know if I ever get food poisoning in Bangkok, I’ll at least have the hospital visit to look forward to.

Now that is unexpected, a re-do on eye surgery at no charge. Let’s be sensible and don’t expect that any of us would get that sort of treatment. But this is a true story. Here is the bill for the eye-surgery re-do from Baan Bueng Vechking PLC’s Pattana Clinic.

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