Monday, November 9, 2009

H1N1 and visiting a South Korean Hospital — Do NOT pick your nose and then hand out sterile masks!

Almost two weeks ago Julianne became very ill with flu-like symptoms. But she didn’t have a fever so we thought, perhaps wrongly (apparently a fever is NOT mandatory to have H1N1), that she probably didn’t have H1N1. A couple days later she was really sick and having some trouble breathing so we headed to the hospital.

The first contact people in the ER are two clerks behind a counter, and one to two security guards who monitor incoming patients and people. Considering the hype over H1N1 I was surprised that there wasn’t a person at the door taking everyone’s temperature as they entered the area. Instead, the security guards hand out masks to incoming people . . . but didn’t seem to be giving them to 100% of the people entering the ER area. (Also, inside the ER area I only saw about 60-70% of people wearing their masks, some incorrectly, and no one seemed to be asking the people not wearing masks to put them on.)

Since the security guards act as first contact people (after the two clerks) in the entrance of the ER they had sterile masks. Some of them wore them correctly, while others wore them around their neck with the nose and mouth uncovered . . .

Considering the fact that a security guard comes into contact with EVERY PERSON entering the ER I was rather disgusted with the guards not wearing their masks. If they did have H1N1 they could be infecting patients and visitors to the ER . . .

Anyways, more on this after I continue the story . . .

Julianne gave her alien registration card, national health insurance booklet, and hospital info card to the two clerks at the desk who then waved us through to the ER doors where the security guards pass out masks. We were handed masks and then walked through to the open treatment area (open as in there are no private rooms or wall dividers between each area and everyone sees everything that is taking place while you talk to your doctor–there are curtains but they are rarely pulled around the patient).

Before seeing a doctor Julianne was seated in the hallway where a nurse with excellent English asked her some preliminary questions. But when she tried to call up Julianne’s registration file on her computer we found out that the clerk at the front desk had failed to sign Julianne into the hospital as a patient–uhm, hello patient in-take procedures? I wonder why he didn’t enter her into the system . . . the nurse looked puzzled and did what should have been done earlier.

It was around this point that another nurse walked up and asked me to sign the ‘friend/family responsibility for patient form’ that you must sign if you’re the person coming in with a patient. It says things like: take care of personal belongings, be with the patient at all times, and other things along those lines.

Anyways, Julianne was having a hard time breathing and when the nurse found this out she hooked her up to a heart rate and blood pressure monitor . . . . . . .

Click on the link below to see pictures and read more at Kimchi Icecream: The Second Serving . . . . I've moved over to and will be blogging there from now on.

H1N1 and visiting a South Korean Hospital — Do NOT pick your nose and then hand out sterile masks!


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