Sick in Korea?

Updated 2011-07-19 12:38

When living in a foreign country and not speaking the language beyond a few words and commands, getting sick and having to use the local health system could be a little daunting at best.

Recently after developing some flu like symtoms such as aching muscles, mild dizziness and fatigue and generally feeling like crap, I decided that a visit to the doctor was indeed necessary. I had tried to shake it off but to no avail.

Saturday morning saw me riding in a taxi to the nearest hospital. Staggering into the foyer I found that all the signs giving directions to other parts of the building were bilingual. I saw the one that said new patients, walked on over and stated I needed to see a doctor asap. The lady behind the counter spoke a little English, she asked for my alien card which I handed her, she looked at it, made a few notations on the computer and asked would I take a seat.

Feeling relieved at the thought of not having to stand, I found a seat and had only been there less than 5 minutes when a Korean in a white coat who spoke lovely English beckoned me to follow. It turned out he was the doctor. We went through the usual procedure of symptoms felt etc, he went over me with the stethoscope, tongue depresser, blood test and blood pressure test etc. He informed me that I was indeed suffering a dose of the flu and asked me did I have any allergies regarding medication which was going to be prescribed. He also mentioned that I should have a booster type injection to help make me feel a bit better in the short term. Naturally I agreed. In the end it was in the bum and being a wimp myself I regretted saying yes. My god, they are the masters with the needle, they had done it before I had realised. Normally am a total wimp when it comes to needles, guess it really comes down to the operator.

After that I was told to go and pick up my prescription in the room opposite the doctors and then go and pay at the main counter. I got an itemised bill, it read like this:

Consultation - 3000 won
Injection - 3000 won
Prescription - 2000 won

So for a mere 8000 won (about $7 USD) I got treated at the local hospital system. For that I had a five minute wait and the injection I got was like a shot of rocket fuel!! Within 30 minutes I was feeling like I was ready to go out and take on the world!! There were definately some added extras in that shot.

I don't know about other people but my experience of being sick and then having to get some medical treatment turned out really good. They are polite, fast, efficient and thorough. If this happened to me again I wouldn't hesitate for a second about getting medical help.

Outstanding service and treatment 10/10.

Like all countries there are things that Koreans do well and not so well. As for the medical system, they do it very well.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.