The conversation came about because we have been told my son needs major surgery despite the fact he seems healthy. When I told the Filipino nurse he said if it was his child he would seek a second, third, fourth and fifth opinion as his time working in hospitals abroad has taught him you can not trust Philippines hospitals.
Coming from the UK a country that has the National Health Service (NHS) which is free at the point of access and is often rated as the best health service in the world, the Philippines system seems strange to us British. We are used to hospitals that are not privately run and do not make a profit.
The first thing we notice in the Philippines is you need to self diagnose to know what doctor to see as they all seem to specialise and there seems to be no such thing as a General practitioner (GP).
In the UK your first port of call is always your GP. The GP examines you and most of the time prescribe the medication that is needed, and that is as far as you go in most cases.
If your GP thinks it is something more serious, or if the medication he gave you does not work he may refer you to a specialist, it is the GP that decides what specialist you need to see not you.
In the Philippines you go straight to a specialist that will often diagnose you as having the worst possible illness for the symptoms you show, they will then send you for loads of tests that often seem to rule out the first diagnoses and work down in how severely ill you are. Personally I find this shocking as it causes unnecessary stress to patients and their family.
The British system goes about it the opposite way starting with something that is most common and not very serous then working up if that is ruled out.
My first experience of Philippines hospitals is one that left me having little trust in Philippines hospitals. I had been playing football and an old injury to my abdominal muscles started to play up and was giving me pain, it had happened to me many times so I knew what it was and just wanted some painkillers to relax it until it healed.
The doctor insisted it was appendicitis and that I must have my appendix removed within 24 hours or they could bust, I tried to tell him that it was an old injury but he refused to listen and kept warning me of the danger if I did not have my appendix removed.
I walked out of the hospital and to this day I still have my appendix.
Was it a wrong diagnoses or was he prepared to cut me open just to make money from me?
I have heard similar stories both from British and Filipinos.
Other things I have witnessed is hospital insisting patients are not allowed outside to get some air, a practice that is encouraged in the UK with many hospitals having gardens for patients to sit in.
In the Philippines it has felt to me like they use a drip like a handcuff to stop you going outside.
I have been told by someone who is a health professional in the Philippines that it is common practise to not release patients until after 1pm, the reason being is they charge for the room on a daily rate that is from 12 noon to 12 noon, if they keep you till 1pm you have to pay an extra day.
Something else I find very strange having never paid for hospitals for myself or loved ones until I came here is the fact the family gets lumbered with huge bills when a family member dies in hospital.
How can this be right? Firstly morally it is very wrong and shows a lack of caring to my mind, second it has to be the only type of business that can fail to do the job and still get paid.
I hate to compare a person to a car but it is a good example, if you took your car to a garage because it had a leaky radiator and not only did they fail to repair it but they returned your car in a condition it would never work again you would not pay the bill, so why do people pay hospital when they fail to do the job?
I am sure there are hospitals in the Philippines that are very trustworthy. Some people think the more they cost the more trustworthy they are.
We are not saying you can not trust Philippines hospitals we are more asking the question, so we would like to hear your experiences of Philippines hospitals and if you think you can trust Philippines hospitals. Please comment below.