Wednesday, 11 April 2012

A trip to the hospital

Milas Devlet Hospital
Over the years I've wondered why the devlet (state) hospitals here are always so crowded.  I have discovered there are several reasons for this.

Firstly, of course, people get sick and they need to go to hospital for treatment.  One of the advantages of the health system here is that you can just walk into a hospital and see a doctor without an appointment, even if it's not an emergency.

This means that they never really know how many people are likely to turn up.  Another problem here is that the Turks are a nation of hypochondriacs.  This is not just my opinion. I can't tell you how many times I've encountered people who take great pleasure in telling you all about their aches and pains and almost boasting about how much medication they take.   Mr A tells me that Turks have a great fear of cancer and heart attacks and will rush off to the hospital with the slightest pain...just in case.

I spent a few hours with Mr A at Milas Devlet Hospital today.  I'm afraid I put up with various ailments for far too long, so when I eventually give in and decide to see a doctor, I often have a list of things that need sorting out.

I've had problems with my sinuses for a couple of months, which started with a flu bug, which also left me with a hacking cough.  Yesterday my face and jaw were painful and I had a stiff neck and shoulders.  Mr A came home last night and insisted we went to see a doctor today.  The village doctor was due at 11am, but when we reached her makeshift surgery in the village school she wasn't there.  Mr A phoned her and she said she would be delayed until 1pm but suggested we went straight to the hospital as she would have recommended this anyway.

It's a strange kind of system.  I used to think that I would never be able to manage a visit on my own but I actually get how it works now.  You register at reception and tell them what kind of doctor you would like to see and they then give you a strip of self-adhesive labels, printed with your details and a number, and tell you which room to go to.

You trot off down a long corridor until you find your consulting room, and a screen outside will flash your name and number when it's your turn.   The doctor and her secretary work together.  The secretary takes one of your adhesive labels and sticks on to your file.  Then the doctor examines you.

I was then sent for a blood test, where I handed over another label.  From there to the X-ray department, where 2 labels were stuck onto a large envelope and handed to me.  We waited for about 20 minutes until my name and number appeared on the screen, then I  handed the envelope to the radiographer. I had a chest x-ray and one of my face with my mouth wide open (to check the sinuses).

From there to another department to do a breathing flowchart (and hand over another label). 

By this time, x-ray and blood test results were ready for me to collect and return to the doctor, where we waited for my number to appear on the screen.  I just love the way this is all happening with computers connecting between departments, so that everyone knows where you are at any given time, so that you can be sure your number will appear on the screen at the right time.

Finally, the last of my labels were handed to the doctor, who checked all the tests and confirmed that my sinuses and chest were infected, and antibiotics and two other types of medication were prescribed.  Other than that she said my lungs were in pretty good conditon.  She also noticed from the x-rays that my arthritis is what is causing the ache in my neck and shoulders.  This could also be contributing to the pain in my jaw, although I suspect it's actually a tooth problem (which I've been putting off dealing with).  She has suggested I take up swimming which sounds like a good idea as it's gentle exercise and helps with the stiffness of arthritis.

Amazingly all this was done in less than three hours.  Even though there were so many people there, the system runs well..rather like a very efficient conveyor belt.

But that brings me to another reason why the doctors manage to get through all their patients in one day.  They're not all patients you see.

The Turks like to bring their families with them.  Wives, husbands, children, mothers, fathers, etc.  They make a day of it.  They bring food with them and sit outside in the sunshine, or visit the hospital cafe.  They gather in groups in the corridors, chatting away.   You can be mistaken for thinking you have a queue of people before you, but there's probably only one out of every half a dozen people actually needing treatment.

The doctors don't seem to mind at all when a whole family troops into the consulting room.   I can't imagine this happening in hospitals anywhere else.  Can you?


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20 comments:

  1. Geçmiş olsun. It's a relief to know the system works. You would have probably had to wait a week for the results in the UK.

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    1. Thanks BtoB. You're right at least a week...probably more.

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  2. What a super system!
    Here you get a 'cita' from your base clinic which to take to the hospital if it's a new ailment, and once you are in the hospital system it takes you from there....but no chance of just rolling up!
    Well, unless you are an emergency, which the little old ladies always claim to be!

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    1. I'm really impressed with the efficiency Fly. The system has really improved over the years. I can't vouch for it being the same in all the state hospitals of course, but I'm grateful it works here.

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    2. Geçmis olsun.

      Last time I had blood tests in the UK it took me six weeks of chase up phonecalls to get the results - and that was my GP for something totally routine. Oh, and I used to work in quality control for the NHS. No special treatment on that account!
      Hilary

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    3. Thankyou Hilary. I think it's a real shame the way the NHS has deteriorated over the years. It was so good at one time.

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  3. Our childrens hospital runs really well, but the hospital for grown ups well I don't think it works nearly as efficient as you have described. Mom my goes to the clinic and it can take a whole day. No joke. One time she passes out because she is diabetic and had not eaten.

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    1. That's a really bad situation Kelleyn. Clearly room for improvement there.

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  4. I am most impressed too Ayak. I can't say it works as smoothly in Andalucia though I recognise the family outing. Our doctors have no real system and there is always a huge queue to see one though I have found them to be helpful and concerned when I've had to go. Yours sounds like a very good model and I think it's the way all hospitals should work - tests and results done while you wait. Hope the good advice and medical support makes you feel much better very soon.
    Axx

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    1. Hi Annie. There used to be endless queues here too when I first moved to Turkey, but they have vastly improved the system. Having computers linked to each department and your name and number being entered at each stage, helps enormously.

      There is often criticism of the devlet hospitals here, but I've had nothing but good service from them.

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  5. It does sound really good.... also good to hear that you are ok, or will be after some antibiotics.
    Some bits of the UK NHS are brilliant... we always make an afternoon of going to my husbands's annual prostate cancer check up,( annual now, used to be evry 3 months, then every 6 months) as the hospital is lovely, the waiting areas are like smart art galleries, the coffee shops are excellent, and the staff are fantastic ( Jimmy's in Leeds). I suppose it helps in that the last time went, the Consultant who has been looking after my husband since his diagnosis 3 years ago said " You are probably cured ". I think that's the nearest we are ever going to get to being told "all clear".
    I must admit to not looking forward to having to access the French system for the first time.....although everyone tells me how good it is. I guess its just anxiety about the unknown isn't it. Keep taking the antibiotics, hope you are better soon. J.

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    1. I shouldn't really generalise about the NHS because although I didn't have good experiences of the system when I lived in the UK, I do hear of many stories of people who have had excellent treatment. Jimmy's does have a very good reputation doesn't it?

      You must be delighted by the treatment your husband has received, and it's lovely to hear that he has come through this so well. I wish him continued good health.

      And thank you for your good wishes. The antib's should do the trıck!

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  6. Sounds a brill efficient system and so glad you went and got sorted out. We have to wait far too long here for most stuff but I do have to say my heart hossie The Heart Hospital London are brill and do all the tests the same day then you get to see Consultant afterwards and even get any more prescriptions you need. Less said about the local one though hehehehehe even though my Cardiologist there is great! For anything general though I think its a waiting game having to go via GP then referrals and as for blood tests lol xx

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    1. I think the issue with blood tests through the NHS is an important one Bomb. I find it difficult to believe that if we can get results here within an hour, why should it take so long for this to happen on the NHS?

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  7. I always love to read these accounts of what life is like in Turkey and a Turkish hospital sounds really brilliant and more efficient than our hours of waiting even with an appointment.
    Glad you've got the sinus thing under control now. That can be nasty if left untreated.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

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    1. Well I needed to get it sorted Maggie. I'm off to England next Wednesday and flying can be very painful when the sinuses are infected. So fingers crossed I'll be fighting fit by next week.

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  8. Wow that is amazing! The process here in the US is awful, and expensive. My mother in laws fear is she will get sick here someday.

    Terri

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    1. Hi Terri. I think it must be awful to have a fear of getting ill because the treatment isn't good. People do complain here about the hospitals, but I don't get why. Maybe I've just been lucky.

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  9. Ayak, that sounds like a really excellent, joined-up hospital system. I too am never sure quite why blood-tests take so very long to get results in the UK. I've had brilliant care and treatment with both my breast cancers, yet I can wait for ages for the results of a simple blood test. Sigh.... I do hope the antibiotics do their stuff in plenty of time for your trip.

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    1. Hi Perpetua. Yes the delay in blood test results seems to be something everyone complains about. I think they must have more people working in the labs here..maybe that's the reason.

      Antibs working well thanks xxx

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