A Visit to the ER in the Philippines

Always Be Careful.

When working around the house and the yard, I have learned to be especially careful to take things safe and slow. Simple injuries like burns, scrapes, cuts, and even severe contusions, can be cause for concern. While living in the Philippines, westerners can be exposed to many foreign bacteria that our immune systems have never been exposed to before. Most expats, being over 50 years of age, should know that it takes longer for an abrasion or cut to heal, or to get over an illness, due to age. Our bodies just aren’t as young and vigorous as they once were.

When supporting plants, I have learned to use steel rebar as a support. Rebar works well because of its rusty appearance, and its tendency to camouflage itself into the plant. I’ve used bamboo stakes in the past but they rot rather quickly and are also subject to attract wood-boring insects, like termites. I use black cable ties to support the trunk of a plant around the rebar that is inserted into the ground.

Stuff Happens!

Last week, while working in the garden, I attempted to (hastily I might add) push a short piece of rebar into the ground when my hand slipped and punctured the base of my left forefinger, just above my palm. It was a deep enough wound (from a rusty piece of rebar) where I thought I would better served by going to the hospital for a Tetanus Shot. The hospital where I play tennis at was my first choice – the Seventh Day Adventist Sanitarium Hospital in Calbayog City – mostly because I know some of the people who work there. I walked into admissions and they immediately sent me to the Emergency Room where I was met by the on-duty nurse. I had cleaned up my wound before I got there so there was no need for treatment or bandaging. The nurse initially consulted a hospital Dr. by phone and she was instructed to issue me two shots. One test was an equestrian tetanus test (epidural) and the other was a tenanus vaccine. The horse vaccine was supposedly used to see if I would test positive or negative to the other vaccine. In this case, I needed a “positive” reaction to tetanus for the other shot to be effective. Confused? I sure was. I always thought a tetanus shot was a tetanus shot.

The new Emergency Room at the Sanitarium Hospital
The new Emergency Room at the Sanitarium Hospital

The Cost of Medical Care.

I was given a prescription for the vaccine, a syringe, and two needles, and was sent to the pharmacy to pick-up these items for the Emergency Room nurse to administer my injections. I also was prescribed antibiotics and pain-killer for the injury. That’s right, I had to actually purchase the Tetanus vaccine, the equestrian serum, and the two syringes, pay for them, and bring them back to the ER. After I was administered the shots, I was told to hang around for 30 minutes for the first “epidural” shot to be examined. As it turned out, my forearm indicated some redness and swelling and it turned out to be a “positive” result. Because of that, I needed to see a doctor to confirm the positive result which cost me an additional consultation fee. The positive reading was confirmed by the Dr. and that was good news, I suppose, and I was sent on my way, but not before having the Dr.’s consultation fee added to my bill.

The cost breakdown:

ER visit      – P96
Pharmacy  – P330 (vaccine, serum, antibiotic, and pain killer)
Dr. consult – P200

Total –          P626 (or about $13.18USD)

At these costs, I did not even feel compelled to file a claim against my insurance. I think I’ll save that effort for something more serious… (knocking on wood!)




18 thoughts on “A Visit to the ER in the Philippines

  1. I’d be hesitant of willingly walking into any place with the name “Sanitarium” on the front door.

  2. Just to give you some comparison on hospital visits. Here in Ohio, on 3June16 I visited the ER. Turned out, I had kidney stones. Anyway, my visit to ER bill was $7,863.50. Doctor’s bill was $1,150.00. CTScan $295.00. Add a little more for the meds. Glad I have Blue Cross and Medicare. My out of pocket was like $30.00 for the meds. David in Ohio

  3. If you get a positive reaction to a pathogen, then your body has already been exposed to that pathogen and immunity is likely, so, no need for vaccine.

  4. Lucky ya didn’t need stitches, you would have had to call past the haberdashery to collect some needle n thread. hahahahahahahah

    Has the horse injection given you any added * bone-us’s * 😉

  5. I see, is that how that works? Thanks for that info. I hadn’t had a tetanus shot for a very long time, so it was better to be safe than sorry. Now I can stab myself daily without worry! lol

  6. Good to know there is relatively good care there in Samar! I’ll need it next year!

  7. Glad everything is ok. Don’t know if you watch any baseball? But being from Chicago are you watching the Cubs in the playoffs?

  8. Sorry – as a Lion’s fan I kind of feel for Cubs fans but that was just too easy.

  9. Ha, I never rated the care, just described my visit. I’m sure primary care is almost up to speed and can only get better as Calbayog grows.

  10. Jessa and I just welcomed our first-born son Oct. 4 via normal delivery at Castro Hospital in Baliuag(affiliated with St. Lukes in Quezon City). Total cost for 5 prenatal visits including 3 Ultrasounds) the delivery, 2 nights in the hospital and all meds was less than PHP2,000!

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