Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Prenatal care in Taiwan - visiting the doctor

Since I have gotten many questions about what our health care is like I thought I'd share a typical prenatal appointment experience.  I also posted this awhile ago on our other blog. 

We have been going to Kuang Tien Hospital and work with the international department who provides assistance to foreigners - a huge plus for us!  For this particular visit, I emailed the international coordinator and asked her to make an appointment for me, I received an email back the next day telling me I was #9 for August 2nd and could show up any time after 9:30am. We got to the office a little after 9:30 and the nurse checked me in - weight, blood pressure, etc. She then took my file, baby book that tracks my development and health card to the doctor and we went in a few minutes later.

In the doctor's office I had an ultrasound (I have one every visit). He measured Baby O's head size, femur bone and abdomen to help determine due date (still around October 22nd). He measured the heart rate (normal) and checked for any problems (none). Finally, we discussed that she is breech and what that may mean down the road. For now, however, she has plenty of room to turn around.

After the ultrasound we went to the computer where he noted information in my file. He explained the blood test that I was to get next and sent us on our way with a nurse to get my blood test, and for Jeremiah to get his blood type determined since we didn't know it.

The nurse took us to the blood drawing area and we took a number. After about 10 people it was our turn and the nurse translated for us when needed. The nurse took us back to the obstetrics waiting area while they processed Jeremiah's blood type. 30 minutes later they called us in and told us I would need to get a shot today and one after I give birth. The nurse walked us to the pharmacy to pick up the injection (she waited in line for me to get it) and then took us to the injection room. We took a number and waited our turn. This was the craziest part of the day - I was called into a good sized room that was filled with people. One man was sitting in a chair getting bandages on what looked like road burn on his back and arms. There were 5 beds with people in them getting various treatments - a young boy getting an IV, someone getting a burn bandaged, an old man getting blood and a few others. Everyone out in the open. I was showed to a bed and while everyone else was out in the open getting more intense procedures than I was, the nurse closed the curtain around us, then gave me the shot in my arm and we were sent on our way home.

We paid about $3US and it included everything. The interactions with the doctor were all in english and the nurse who took us around translated for us when the other nurses didn't speak english. A productive and satisfactory visit.  We have found that with the right doctor, who understands there are some cultural differences in medical practices between America and Taiwan, and is flexible around those differences, everything can go very smoothly.  We are very fortunate to have such doctors.

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