In case you get some sort of accident in Cambodia. In a province or area outside the capital Phnom Penh with fractures as result. You will be transferred to either Bangkok or Phnom Penh. Even the Royal Angkor International Hospital in Siem Reap doesn’t have the capacity to carry out operations in case of (complicated) fractures. It means that when a serious fracture issue does occur in Siem Reap, you will be transferred. You can read more about it in another post about the Royal Angkor International Hospital.
The way this goes is getting through a procedure that can take 7 to 14 hrs. This is just the time a hospital needs to get through all kinds of paperwork regarding insurance. Email traffic with third parties whom are related to the original insurance company of a patient. Interviewing or questioning the wrong people. Wrong topics, for the wrong reasons. Clearance from whoever to finally start with x-rays. Waiting for results. Doctors meeting about the injuries and fractures and how and where to get it fixed. Writing a report about it to the (third party) insurance. Then those people need to decide where you’ll be transferred. You name something time consuming or an absolute mess and you’ll experience it. An endless process with a suffering patient.
Royal Phnom Penh Hospital
No, the word international isn’t mentioned in this hospital name. The transfer is usually a choice between Royal Phnom Penh Hospital or Bangkok International Hospital in Thailand. On signs and logos it’s clear that the first one is a member of the Bangkok International Hospitals. This brand can be found in Bangkok and several other Thai cities. It gets a lot of medical tourism from European countries. Now they’re even in Cambodia.
Don’t get fooled by this brand as if you’ll be in good hands. That might be in Thailand but not in this Cambodian hospital they’re connected to. They refuse to give updates about a patient through phone. Instead they send you an sms with an email link for all your questions. First hand experience taught that this email system for questions is more of a joke than something professional. From three separate emails, only two got partly answered. This means you’ll get answers on questions you didn’t ask in your mail. Medical updates, mostly a lot of medical terms that normal people don’t understand. No answers about the passport and luggage of the patient which wasn’t transferred.
You could do some more questioning. The trip from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh takes around 5 hrs for an ambulance, depending on the time of the day. The patient undergoes exactly the same procedure as was already done in the previous hospital. Only now at Royal Phnom Penh Hospital. The paperwork, copies of passport and insurance haven’t got transferred. The x-ray results are not transferred. Otherwise what’s the point in giving the patient x-rays again? That smells like non communication between hospitals. No cooperation of some sort. Distrust to the professionalism of doctors in other hospitals. Ripping of insurances by doing things double. Maybe they can give you the answer. After the operation serving the patient for days on the wrong side where she couldn’t move her arm. Being unclear with speaking and so on.
It might be a more qualitative hospital by name, as they perform operations that can’t be done in other hospitals in the country. In this case bringing in screws at places near the hip and elbow. Yet, it still has the same kind of poor professionalism in a lot of other fields. Just as in provincial hospitals. Here too a lot of questioning to the wrong people about non medical topics. To give an example, questioning a visitor about the expired visa of the patient by a young nurse. Asking the visitor how to deal with that. If he was going to solve that problem. The visitor had to inform hospital staff about Cambodian law. It should be better when nurses keep their minds only with patients and medical issues.
Overall what became clear with being close to this case was the total lack of pace and action in combination with a lot of misunderstandings. A lack of communication, chaotic, disorganized and too many people doing the same or nothing. Too many what should be medical employees getting themselves busy with non-medical issues and therefore looking foolish and insecure. An obvious mess of mentioned issues between hospital employees, between different hospitals, hospitals and insurance, insurance company and their local third party. Finally between all of them and the patient or the one as back up for the patient. Not to mention a to some extend not cooperating patient.
One things is clear, there is a lot that can be improved. Especially with the term international and the prices they charge. The operations and a week long stay had a total bill of around $23000. In mentioned cases you’re not allowed to fly home without medical assistance and/or equipment. The doctors and insurance decide. Your original flight date and ticket became useless. Another flight needs to be managed by the insurance.
When you finally reach your hometown with the medic and a bag full of medicines that the Royal Phnom Penh hospital gave with a $450 price tag, you’re in for the next surprise. The western hospital decides to give you more or other x-rays or scans. The doctor asks you with an associated expression on his face what the bag with medicines are for? As souvenir, because they’re not for taking in. He gives you totally different medicines. This is always a trick in any private hospital. Sending you home with seven different medicines of which max two are of use. It’s part of the business model of private hospitals.
Hospitals in Cambodia, even with insurance, are among the worst in the region. Don’t be fooled by the Bangkok International logo and connection.