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Inquiry Submission By Susan D

In response to a question asked by KiwiGirl_in_Aussie on how I found the medical treatment I received in Siem Reap, I thought that I would report in the hope that it might help fellow travelers to Siem Reap who may find themselves in a similar position to myself.

On day 3 of my visit I did the Small Circuit with the hotel’s tuk tuk driver and he suggested that we stop for lunch at a restaurant near the temples. The restaurant looked clean and was full of tourists and I ordered Fish Amok. Unfortunately, that night I started experiencing the symptoms of food poisoning. Now, I stress that I have no evidence that it was from the Fish Amok because it is possible that I could have picked up bacteria from some other source that day or the day previously.

After suffering severe symptoms that night, the next day, and the next night, the hotel called a doctor and nurse to my room. As I had a high fever and was dehydrated, plus the fact that I had pre-existing heart problems, the doctor recommended that I go to hospital. I was transported in an ambulance with the doctor and nurse in the back with me, however they didn’t strap me to the bed and on the rough roads I came very close to falling off several times.

When we reached the hospital, Royal Angkor International Hospital, I was stretchered into the Emergency Department where a canula was inserted into my arm and an administration clerk visited me to request a $500 US deposit before they would take me to my room. I had bought with me only my passport and travel insurance documents, but had left my credit card in my room safe. I thought that the hospital would deal directly with my insurance company as had happened previously in Thailand when I was hospitalized there a few years ago.

Luckily, the General Manager of my hotel had followed the ambulance to the hospital and he pulled $195 US out of his pocket and negotiated with the hospital staff to take that while he went back to the hotel to collect my credit card. I would have not been taken to my room without the deposit being paid as they were very strict on that. So, do not forget your credit card if you find yourself in similar circumstances.

I was taken to a private room which was alright except that the air conditioning didn’t work and I had to make do with a fan which they brought in. They tried to fix it after the General Manager of my hotel complained, but to no avail.

Also, the bed was the most uncomfortable that I had ever slept on. The nurse said that they had had many complaints about it. The mattress was rock hard with culverts in it and I didn’t get a wink of sleep all the time I was in the hospital.

I was placed on a drip with saline and antibiotics, however the machine kept malfunctioning and no matter how many times they changed it, the alarm kept going off.

Also, once a nurse came and said that she had to put me on a nebulizer. I asked why, and she said to help my cough. I said that I didn’t have a cough and for her to ring the doctor to find out if it was really for me. She made the phone call, spoke in Khmer to someone, and then marched out of the room never to be seen again.

I must say that the hospital food was good. I really wasn’t up to eating but I knew that they wouldn’t let me go unless I ate something. There was roast chicken and mashed potato and vegetables for dinner and toast and fruit for breakfast the next day. I managed to eat a few spoonfuls of chicken and mashed potato

At 11 a.m. the next day the doctor visited me and advised that the blood sample and stool sample which they took the previous day showed no sign of parasites, which was a relief. He would, however, like me to say in for another night. I told him that I didn’t want to and he reluctantly agreed to discharge me with some medication.

There was some confusion with the final paperwork and the discharge process took 2 hours. Luckily the GM again came to my rescue as he had arrived to drive me back to the hotel. He kept chasing them up and when the clerk asked for the receipt for the $500 US deposit, which he had taken back to the hotel and placed in my safe, he insisted that they had a copy and that that should be sufficient in order to refund my $500 US.

By the time I was discharged my insurance company and the hospital had agreed that the insurance company would be billed direct and that they would pay the bill of $1,460.80. I have received the full $500 US refund back into my account.

So, to sum up: Remember to take your credit card with you – most important. Take any medications which you take regularly with you, together with a list of them for the doctor to read. If a medication is prescribed for you and you think that it’s a mistake, question it and insist they ring to check.

I owe an awful lot to the General Manager of my hotel who spent a lot of time with me at the hospital. Without him to advocate for me I think that I would have been in dire straits.

My opinion is that the hospital is o.k. for minor ailments, but for anything serious I would try and make it to a private Bangkok hospital once I had been stabilized. I can compare the two and I feel that the Bangkok hospital I was in for exactly the same ailment, was definitely superior to the one in Siem Reap.

I cut short the rest of my trip and flew straight home where I’m slowly regaining my strength. I have also been ordered by my family not to travel alone overseas again.

I hope that this rather lengthy report might be of use to someone, but I really hope that you have a healthy and trouble free stay in Siem Reap.