CONTRIBUTED BY CHARISSE WINDEBANK
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My husband had minor surgery for an existing condition that had been an issue for quite some time. We were pleasantly surprised with the healthcare system here in Korea. Not only did it feel like we were staying in a 5 star hotel, but the cost of the procedure was much less than it would have been if we had it performed back home. The room was cleaned everyday by housekeeping. I’ve never had a hospital stay where they cleaned the room every single day. The hospital room was much nicer than our room in the Dragon Hill Lodge.
We did have to pay for the whole cost up front, but we were reimbursed as soon as we sent the receipts to our insurance company. 20% of the cost was refunded. He stayed for 4 days and 3 nights in the Private Care department. You have a choice of staying in a room with 4 -5 other patients or have one to yourself. We opted for the latter since the nurses in this wing all speak English. The translators are not available 24 hours and we needed to be able to speak to his nurses in English during off hours.
The affordability was surprising: for the entire stay, surgery and meals (which was tasty compared to US hospital food) the bill was a little over $4,000, which was the whole upfront cost, and our insurance still reimbursed us for our share of the bill. If that procedure and length of stay had been performed in the US, that would have cost in the $200,000 range or maybe more. (When I gave birth in the US I was in the hospital for 3 days and the bill was over $100,000!) Now I understand why they have Medical Tours to Korea; a lot of people opt to have plastic or any elective surgery done here for a fraction of the cost.
Daegu Fatima Hospital has an excellent international department. The language barrier has been a hurdle that we’ve run into every time we seek any off base service. The ladies were great hostesses and spoke English as well as other languages, including Russian, fluently. Not only do they have translation services, they also will escort you where you need to go. Even if the doctor or specialist spoke English, they made sure we didn’t get lost.
Jensen had a great time meeting the nurses. Kylie even invited her friends that also worked in different departments of the hospital to meet him. I tried to get him to smile for the photo, but he was pretty tired and I think was just overwhelmed with all the ladies.
The pill dispersion was a bit different as well. I’m used to pill bottles, but they gave us the pills in single packet “servings”. The pharmacy was on location and we had his pills ready to be picked up right after his appointment. Waiting for his follow up appointments was minimal. We didn’t have to wait an hour in the main waiting room and another hour once we were in the exam room.
Overall, we were pleased with the services offered at Fatima Hospital. I do want to mention that when I tried to get my birth control pills, I was notified that it may be difficult to fill a prescription since they are a religious affiliated hospital. Luckily, I was still able to see a doctor and was informed that there are birth control pills that do not need a prescription. I decided to find services for myself at another medical facility that would not try to impose their religious beliefs on their patients.