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Peking University Hospital
Originally uploaded by jiulong.

Last Frday Qi woke up with a severe pain in her upper back. Because she has broken her back last year we were a bit concerned, but she decided to go to work anyway. This was not a very good idea, and after a few hours she went to a hospital to get checked by an expert doctor. It turned out that she had dislocated a bone in her upper back (I did not even know you could do that). After the doctor treated her, she hoped the pain would go away, but it didn’t. Friday night she could hardly lay down, so on Saturday we went to another hospital for a second opinion. Chinese hospitals are still super inefficient, but going there is an interesting (but time consuming) event.

How does it work? First you go to a counter to ask where you can get a number. At the number counter you have to make sure that other people don’t jump the queue, and once you have a number you can go to yet another queue to pay for the consult that you will get. Luckily in China that is never very expensive. The total price was EUR 1,60, of which we only had to pay 60 Euro cents ourselves, the rest was picked up by the insurance company. Then to the floor where the doctors sit. You have to pass corridors full of patients laying on stretchers, some looked more dead than alive. Terrible sight. At the floor where the doctors sit you get another number, at least if a nurse is available. Our nurse was not there, but preparing medicine, so we had to wait for her. When she finally came back we got a new number and then had to wait until a doctor became available. At the same time we could look at some very encouraging pictures from broken bones and how they fix them. Very bloody. When we finally were admitted to the doctor it only took a few minutes. The main thing he said is that he did not know what was wrong until we would make X-rays.

So off we went to the X-ray room. First you have to get a number, then you pay, and then you can go to the X-ray room. In order to get there we had to walk through the corridor next to the chemotherapy room. This was almost completely blocked by patients for whom there was no room in regular rooms. Image a dirty, noisy corridor without airco when it is over 30 degrees outside. Not a nice way to be dying I thought. At the X-ray room there was nobody, but luckily when a doctor arrived he helped Qi right away. Normally you can get the pictures within about 90 minutes, but because it was quite late already we had to come back the next day.

So Sunday we went back again. Again first going to a counter to pick up the pictures, and then to the room to see the doctor. We were lucky, it was almost lunchtime, but he helped us just before going out for lunch. Nothing was broken luckily, and everything seemed fine. But Qi still had lots of pain… He said she had to stay out of airoconditioned environnments (great wit the hot summer weather…), stay really calm during the next days and don’t lift anything heavy. Also she got some medicine prescribed. So first you find out where you pay (stand in line etc.), the pay (stand in line again), then go to the pharmacy (stand in line), find out that this is the western medicine pharmacy and we have to be at the Chinese medicine pharmacy… Anyway, we made it, but I was very glad I could leave this place. Hospitals still have a lot to improve!

(note: this happened about 6 weeks ago, at that time my weblog had problems so this was never posted. Qi is doing fine again.)

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  1. Hi, I have the same feeling about hospitals systerm in China. It is so ineffective. The reason that people go to hospital is because they get sick. But the way it works in Chinese hospitals can make sick people worse. Also most of doctors have really bad attitude. I remerbered one time I was sick then Matt and I went to Xi’an Technical hospital. After I got the medicine I had a question to ask the doctor, but she just started to yell at me for no reason. I don’t understand what the hell is going on. So I really think Chinese hospitals and doctors attitude have to improve s lot.

    Thanks for your encouraging words!!!