Went to the ER in T...
 
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Went to the ER in Taiwan at NTU Hospital

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The Horrors of Socialized Medicine: A first hand experience

A few days ago my stomach began to hurt. Thinking it would pass, I went home to try and rest for the night. A bit later I vomited. I thought that was the end of it.

But for the rest of the night, I kept vomiting almost every 30-40 minutes. Even after my stomach was completely empty, I kept vomiting. Soon it was nothing but stomach fluid and bile. I tried to drink water to stay hydrated, but I kept throwing it up, no matter how hard I tried to keep it down.

By 3am I had severe stomach cramps, my body kept trying to vomit even though there was nothing left. I was dizzy and light-headed. My symptoms showed no signs of abating.

At this point I had to seek medical treatment, I knew I had to go to the hospital.

I wanted to avoid it. I had no idea how different Taiwanese hospitals would be, whether I would be able to find an English speaking doctor, or what it would cost me (my US health insurance has lapsed and I don't qualify for Taiwanese NHI).

My Taiwanese roommate called a taxi and took me to the ER at NTU Hospital. I was immediately checked-in by an English speaking nurse. Within 20 minutes I was given IV fluids and anti-emetics. They took blood tests and did an ultrasound to ensure it wasn't gall stones or appendicitis. From there I was given a diagnosis: a particularly severe case of Acute Viral Gastroenteritis (aka the stomach flu). After about 3 hours on an IV, I began to feel slightly better, my nausea disappeared and my stomach began to calm down. I was discharged with a prescription for anti-emetics and pain medication. Each day since Ive gotten progressively better and am now pretty much back to normal.

The bill for the ER visit?...

US$80.00

Eighty. American. Dollars.
Out of pocket. Full cost. No discounts. No insurance.
At one of the best hospitals in Taiwan.

And if I had NHI, it would have been a fraction of that.

This could have easily cost me hundreds or even thousands in the US without insurance. But here in Taiwan I was able to receive speedy, quality care comparable to what I would have gotten in a US hospital for relatively small amount of money.
Given this experience, I no longer have a reason to fear or hesitate getting care in Taiwan should I ever need it.

America, it's time to stop making excuses.


   
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