When you travel a lot, you sometimes need to access the local healthcare system. I wrote about getting yellow fever & other vaccinations done in Bangkok (you can read the article here) and about three doctor/hospital visits I had to do in Mexico City/Bali/Dubai in 2011 (you can read about these here).
Last week, I had some pain in my elbow and it was inflated. It didn’t hurt unless you had your elbow on the table or touch it. It wasn’t too painful, so I waited for few days before I decided that I need to go and see a doctor.
When I was in Hanoi a month earlier, I had to see a doctor to get a diagnostic for 30+ bites I had at the InterContinental (you can read my beg bug story here). I was satisfied with the service I had received from the hospital/clinic and decided to go there again.
Hong Ngoc seems to deal with mainly local customers that have insurance through one of the commercial providers, but their walk up rates are very reasonable. There is some other western clinic in the city that has “regular” prices that would be astronomical for Vietnam. I wasn’t dying, so this local hospital was more than enough.
The hospital is conveniently located within walking distance from the historic city center. I was coming from the InterContinental hotel on both of my visits, so I had to take a cab.
Signing up & paying
First you need to go to the second floor area for registration. There are some receptionists/nurses that can speak/understand some English. You need to fill out simple form with your info and then pay for the consultation that is less than $25. They take Visa & MasterCard or payment and cash. Not sure about American Express.
You are then assigned a doctor, who is going to see you. Most likely one of the ladies will escort you to one of the rooms immediately unless the doctor is occupied with some other patient. Otherwise, you need to wait for few minutes.
This time the doctor suggested that they do blood analysis, x-ray, and ultrasound to find out what was the wrong with the elbow. She said that all these would cost an additional $50. Went back to the reception and paid the bill.
Then the blood test, ultra sound and x-rays were taken. It took total maybe 30 minutes before I was back at seeing the same lady.
There were nothing wrong with the x-rays or ultrasound, but the blood test showed that I had some sort of infection.
She just prescribed some antibiotics and couple of other meds. There is pharmacy run by the hospital on the ground level that can fulfill prescriptions. Very convenient.
I was satisfied with the price/quality of the services that I have received at this clinic/hospital in Hanoi. The only thing that they could have done differently on my last visit would have been to prescribe generic antibiotics and not use a Pfizer brand. Would have likely reduced the price of the prescription drugs by 90%.
What I have learned during my extensive travels, is that one should always have some antibiotics with him/her. I normally buy some to go with me from Bangkok or in Brazil, where you don’t normally need a prescription.