Monday, November 9, 2009

H1N1 ‘Clinic’ is really a tent outside the International Foreign Clinic and ER at Seoul National University Hospital . . . wow.

About 3 days after visiting the ER of a hospital in Seoul (see this link for the story), and getting Tamiflu along with several other medicines, Julianne began to feel worse not better. We headed back to the hospital last Wednesday morning after she called me at school to say she needed my help.

Arriving at the hospital we headed to the International Foreigner Clinic. As we walked through the main entrance of the hospital I couldn’t help thinking ‘oh my god, there are so many people coming and going from the hospital, and many of them are elderly, why is there no temperature check and sterile mask check point at the main entrance?’ In the main waiting area just inside the entrance I immediately asked a nurse who was wearing her mask around her neck for two masks for Julianne and I to put on. While Julianne was not tested for H1N1 during our last visit (not sure why), we were pretty sure that she had it. We wanted to be responsible and put on masks so that she wouldn’t infect any people inside the hospital . . . I have to be a bit sarcastic here and say that I guess this must be a foreign concept . . . sigh.

After hearing me ask for masks, and saying “H1N1″ to the nurse she put on her mask immediately with a very alarmed face.

Julianne and I then headed over to the main desk that has the international clinic sign above it but we were directed to go to the right of the desk and down a hallway about 15 feet to the actual clinic itself. Apparently there are no English speaking medical staff or clerks posted to the desk in the main lobby where the giant sign is but rather you’ll only find them in the clinic itself.

Arriving at the small office we waited while the secretary (nurse?) kept answering the phone . . . and waited, and waited . . . and then she finally stopped to talk to us.

The nurse (I’m guessing) began asking us why were visiting (apparently failing to notice that BOTH of us were wearing masks) and after hearing “fever” and “Swine Flu” she paused and reached behind her to pick up a N95 mask . . . lol, lucky for her that Julianne already had her mask on, eh? I don’t know how quickly someone can be infected from talking to a person with the H1N1 virus but if you aren’t wearing your mask and the sick person isn’t wearing a mask I would have to hazard a guess that the odds do increase at least a little that you’re going to be infected . . . sigh.

The nurse asked Julianne for her alien registration card, national health insurance card, and we also gave her the hospital info card. After typing in some info, and asking Julianne some questions, the nurse took Julianne’s temperature. It was a little high, and probably would have been higher if Julianne had not already been taking anti-flu meds. The nurse wrote this info down on a form, and then told us someone would come and take us to the “H1N1 Clinic.”

After waiting about 2 minutes a guy in his late 20s or early 30s showed up to escort us. He was wearing a mask–wow–and we began walking to wherever the “clinic” was located. I asked Julianne if she wanted to get a wheelchair but she said no, she’d walk. I was worried, though, because we didn’t know how far away this “clinic” was and Julianne was VERY weak, and needed to walk very slowly.

Walking outside, I asked the escort if he spoke English and got a quick head shake ‘no.’ We slowly walked across the parking lot, and had to pause while trying to cross a through way because traffic wouldn’t stop for us (why stop for sick people when driving through a hospital? Yes, this pissed me off!).

I asked the escort how much farther away the clinic was because I had the sinking feeling that it could be several hundred meters away . . . he pointed at a place that looked like it was about 50 meters from where we were, so the total distance was about 150 meters from the hospital entrance–this being a great location for sick people to walk when they need to see a doctor, of course–NOT!

Telling myself to calm down, and that things could be worse Julianne and I walk past construction vehicles roaring around, and BEEP BEEP BEEPING as they move materials to see a collection of 4 white tents . . . needless to say we were rather shocked.

Julianne began saying “There’s no way I’m giving blood in there!” and I tried to reassure her that they wouldn’t ask her to do that in an open air tent with construction being done a few feet away from its entrance . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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 ‘Clinic’ is really a tent outside the International Foreign Clinic and ER at Seoul National University Hospital — Nothing says quality care like a screeching bleep sound from construction vehicles outside the tent flap…sigh!


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