My father in law has a problem with his vision and we decided to have him checked at the Thammasat University Hospital, which is not so far from where we live. My wife, being a civil servant, has the benefit for her parents to be treated at a very low cost in government hospitals.
As she was not able to skip work today, I went with my father in law to the hospital. What a day! Government hospitals are definitely not for Farangs unless if you have plenty of time ahead. We left home at 6:30 a.m. and arrived at about 7:15 a.m. We first grabbed the queue ticket, number “156″, with number 70 being called. Then it was a first queue for a blood pressure check… and plenty of time to have breakfast at the Hospital’s canteen.
Just after breakfast, our number was called and we were able to continue the marathon in the ophthalmology department. Here we got another number “111″, and the one being called at the moment was “60″. It is when I started to re-read an excellent book “Growing up with Three Languages” by Xiao-lei Wang…
It was in fact the third visit my dad had at this department as his vision problems started 3 weeks ago. We were then called in room 1 where a dozen of other people were having their vision checked. Patients were moving in the queue by sitting their way through the chairs up to the examiner. We were given another card and invited to wait again in the large waiting room that had about a hundred people waiting. It was around 9:00 when we started here at the Thammasat University Hospital‘s ophthalmology department.
We were then called in room number 2 where to young doctors, just graduated I guess were examining the patients’ eyes with their equipment. While about ten people were waiting in the room, the 2 doctors interviewed their patients, commented on their diagnosis and explained them what to do next. This was quite shocking to me to witness that there were no privacy at all. From time to time, the young doctors left the room to consult their professor and make a final diagnosis.
Thammasat University Hospital
After a while, room 1 again, for a few drops of liquid in both eyes where a very sympathetic nurse seemed to enjoy her work. The process took about 20 minutes after which, the ophthalmologist had my dad’s eyes checked. As I understand, he has an inflammation of the optical nerve, or optic neuritis, which can come from different general ailments. Too much cholesterol is one cause of the problem and he was told that he must stop smoking… and the vision problem will go away. Sorry dad!
We then were sent to the cashier to pay a 50 Thb bill and back to the the counter to fix the next appointment at the Thammasat University Hospital. As it was 1:15 p.m, we had lunch at the canteen. We attempted to have a visit at the clinic for helping dad to stop smoking, but it was already too late. We were suggested an appointment one month later, or to come next Wednesday without appointment, early in the morning… It was 2:15 p.m. when we left the Hospital and I had read half of my book at the time.
I do believe that you can get an appropriate treatment with competent doctors at the Thammasat University Hospital, but the whole process looks so disorganized. There certainly must be a way to reduce people’s wait and confusion about the whole process.