Travel overseas can be stressful, the tickets, the connection, the kids, you name it and something will always crop up to add to your stress. Murphy is only a heartbeat away in any direction. So, it is always comforting to know that qualified personnel are available when needed. Thailand has qualified medical personnel to assist. Here is a case study of a local Pattaya lad, who had a first-hand opportunity to experience Emergency Medical Procedures in Thailand, and live to tell the tale.
Subject – 60 years old Caucasian Male
- Initial chest pains
- Arrival at Pattaya City Hospital
- Diagnosis of thrombosis at Pattaya City
- Offer to go to Bangkok Pattaya Hospital – way too expensive – good call there.
- Option to go to Phyathai Sriracha Hospital – Chonburi
- Leave for Sriracha Hospital
- Arrive Siracha Hospital
- Beginning of procedure – Stent
- Finish Procedure – approximate time ~4 hours from onset of chest pain to stent installed.
- Overnight in Sriracha Hospital
- Release from Hospital
- The total cost of Sriracha Hospital
- Recovery at home
- Follow up costs
- Back to work in ~10 days
Excruciating Chest Pain
The subject arrived home in the early hours of August 8, 2023. Shortly thereafter he experienced excruciating chest pains. He notified a friend and the security in this housing estate, and they took him to Pattaya City Hospital.
Pattaya City Hospital
Pattaya City diagnosed a thrombosis.
John Hopkins online defines a thrombosis as:
‘Thrombosis occurs when blood clots block veins or arteries. Symptoms include pain and swelling in one leg, chest pain, or numbness on one side of the body. Complications of thrombosis can be life-threatening, such as a stroke or heart attack’.
Pattaya City advised the patient that they did not have the equipment and staff (at that time) to correct the thrombosis there and that would he like to go to Bangkok Pattaya Hospital. This is the premier Hospital in Pattaya with premier prices.
The patient asked if there was an alternative. He was advised that Pyathai Sriracha Hospital in Chonburi could do the procedure.
The downside of Pay-as-You-Go
Note: Before allowing the patient to transfer from Pattaya City to Sriracha Hospital. Phyathai Sriracha Hospital required the patient to transfer 50k baht to their account at 0300 on August 8th, 2023. Once the transfer was sent, he was transported by ambulance to Sriracha.
Pattaya City did not require payment before allowing the patient to leave for Sriracha.
The initial estimate at Sriracha was for 250k and the hospital was pushing for that. The patient gave them another 150k that day and left 50k for checkout.
Unfortunately (like many of us here) his transfer limit for the day was 50k baht. In consequence, the hospital did apply some pressure for the funds that day.
Money was not the issue, transfer limits were. The gentleman was able to resolve the payment speedily once he had access to cash.
There was a pleasant surprise on release from Sriracha Hospital, 200k baht had been paid and he expected to pay another 50k. The bill presented was for 17k, so 33k less than expected.
There was one extra charge on August 9th the patient ordered mushroom soup which added 25 baht to the bill. I think we can all agree a reasonable cost for a bowl of soup served in his room.
Thailand operates on a pay-as-you-go basis. The hospitals can and will provide superlative care to anyone who can pay.
A Wild Ride to Phyathai
The patient was loaded into an ambulance and transported to Sriracha Hospital in Chonburi (Google Maps = 30.2 km and ~34 minutes at 07:00 on a Sunday Morning via Route 3 – Sukhumvit).
As this was the early hours of Tuesday, August 8, with an ambulance and flashing lights the timing should have been equally as fast if not quicker.
Phyathai Sriracha Hospital – Emergency Medical Procedures
The patient was whisked out of the ambulance and pushed directly into an operating theatre.
In his own words, the patient states:
After about 15 minutes of what I thought was prepping, the doctor said “How do you feel?”
“I said, up to now fine and are you going to go through the groin area? “
He said, “No we’ve finished.”
The Doctor showed me the ultrasound, before 95% blocked, after completely clear.
The patient estimates the timeline from the onset of chest pains to the completion of the procedure at approximately 4 hours.
He is very appreciative of his friends and the security personnel of his housing estate for their assistance, in getting him to the hospital.
The operation involved about a 10 mm incision on the patient’s wrist.
Followed by the insertion of a stent in his artery.
Quote: “Thanks to modern technology, from pain starting, to laying there with a stent in, was 4 hours.
So, I’m still here.”
Life-Saving Stent Surgery
A simple band-aid covering a ~10mm incision.
The miracles of modern science
One night for Observation
All the above occurred on August 8th, 2023. The patient was kept in the Hospital on August 9, 2023, for observation and then successfully released later that same day.
He was informed that his heart was operating at 50% and should reach 60% (normal heart efficiency), after about a week.
The patient is optimistic of a full recovery, thanks to his friends, security, and the efficiency of the Thailand medical system.
Follow-up work for the patient will be performed at Sriracha Hospital. The recommended follow-up date is August 23rd, 2023.
The patient is optimistic about a full recovery, and he should be.
In his own words on August 11, 2023.
Well, my recuperation is going OK.
Doctors’ orders are –
Cut down on the alcohol, which at the moment is easy as I’m confined to my room.
I’m down to 10 a day from 30. Rome and day come to mind.
And last but not least lose weight. Weighing in at 122 kilos it’s a no-brainer.
That’s a round-up for now. See you all soon.
A good man felt chest pains early in the morning of August 8, 2023. He reached out for help. Quick action from his housing security and his friend saw him at the hospital within a few minutes.
Rapid diagnosis at Pattaya City Hospital and subsequent transfer to Pyathai Sriracha Hospital via ambulance put him in an operating theatre ~3 hours after initial chest pains.
Modern technology allowed the doctors there to insert a stent into his artery while he felt that they were still examining him and determining how best to proceed.
This was the only artery that appeared to have a blockage, his other arteries were fine.
The result was that after an overnight stay, he was released back into the wilds of Pattaya the following day.
Medical emergencies can strike any of us at any time, Thailand has a good medical system that is well-equipped to handle these emergencies.
Listen to your body and your friends, if you feel unwell – seek immediate treatment.
Thailand has you covered.
Positives: Rapid diagnosis and treatment at both locations.
Negatives: Request for funds prior to transfer, and the pressure to place a deposit later that same day.
Our friend was lucky that he was coherent and able to speak for himself at Pattaya City Hospital. If he had been incapacitated and not requested an alternative to Bangkok Pattaya Hospital, he may have been transferred there for treatment.
Bangkok Pattaya is indeed a good hospital (probably the best in the Pattaya area), but it is also much more expensive than the alternatives. The bill for this treatment could have been a lot higher there.
Also, It is not unheard of here for people to wait in hallways for treatment until a hospital can determine who is paying.
So, in short, be prepared, either have insurance or the ability to pay when needed. Make sure your loved ones can assist in times of need.