911 What’s Your Emergency? China vs Europe

Hi guys !

It’s been a while !

To be accurate, more than a month (that’s not accurate at all but hey…).

I’s been a month that I am back in my hometown (Liège, Belgium). Since I got back, I had to checkup a bit some health problems. Nothing serious, but still concerning.

After 3 weeks, I started comparing health care here, in Belgium, and how it works in Beijing. You know, I lived for a year and 3 months abroad so I had to go see the doctor several times in China. And let me tell you, this short post is going to be GOOD !

On this #TravelTuesday, I am going to give you some info about ‘How to get the best help in Hospital in China’, compare in a funny way with Belgium and Europe in general. Let’s start, shall we !

  • Get an appointment, no matter what !? 

Back in Beijing, I had some stomach pain and acid in my throat! I felt like a Dragon ready to spit fire !!! A Fire-eater !!! So I had to go see a doctor.

When you get stomach pain you have to go see a generalist first back home. They put their hands and listen to what you feel inside. Then, they give you some meds and tell you “if in 2 weeks you still feel like there’s no improvements, come back we’ll see what to do”.

Well, in China, you  end up, even to see a simple ‘doctor’, in the hospital. Public or Private for foreigners, I won’t get into that today. Let’s keep it simple : public hospital. You enter, go register (yes, it’s all written in chinese, get over it and take a friend who speaks Chinese to help you), pay 5 kuai (not even 1€) and queue to wait to be called. Once you’ve seen the generalist, and try to explain your pain in the local language, you are right away invited to take a blood test with quick results (15/30 min or more depending on the test).

God knows, here in Europe, it is fast when you get the results after a week… or so. Chinese doctors seem quite fast, as life is faster than everywhere else!

Once it’s done, you go back to see the doctor with your results. Then, they invite you to go straight to the specialist or another test so they can see clearly what’s going on inside your body.

When you leave for the second time the generalist in Belgium (and Europe), they finally decide to send you to a specialist. Keeping my condition in mind, stomach problems means going to see a gastroenterologist. Once I get back to my apartment, I call the hospital to get my appointment. Damn, if I called 2 weeks earlier, I would have get one 2 weeks later. Now, I have to wait a month before getting a first appointment (no test included, just the consult).

  • Is it an emergency? 

So, you’ve been sick for a month now… god knows in Europe, you have less people. Less people would mean less time to wait to see the specialist and get a first consult right?

Back in China, I am still in the generalist room. He explains to my colleague what I should do. He understands I am in serious pain. I am FAR from dying, but god ! I am in pain ! So my colleague translates and says to me to go pay for a scan or radio, ECG or else downstairs and go back to the radiology department. THANK GOD !!! We’ll see if they have to put a tube down my throat and explore my inside or just see something with the scan.

Back in Belgium – where 12 million people leave (24/25 million in… Beijing only, not China) – I am still waiting a month or so to see the specialist, I am slowly dying. I finally survive to the consult day ! He thinks it is best to go see inside so I have know the authorization of the specialist to ask for a complete exam. I can go to the inscription desks, queue once more and ask for another appointment… which will be a month from now !

I am still  in China, in the public hospital… So many people ! Beijing is overcrowded ! But this hospital is near my work, and even if public, quite well-known. I know why there is so many people from 8am until 5pm. I just wait 45 minutes to get a scan/ECG or whatever. Once at a time obviously ! So We have to queue to get the scans. Still, I am still in the hospital, maybe 2/3h but I don’t have to wait. I just had 2 appointments, a blood test. I can still wait a bit more if it helps me figure out what I have. 1h later, after I paid 250 kuai (+/-40€) and got my scan results back, I go back to see the generalist. All of that the same day. I am reassured, nothing seems abnormal inside. To be sure, he prescribes me some Chinese drugs, send me to the inscription desks to get an appointment for a gastroscopy (that tube down my throat). I pay (same as the rest, cheaper than expected) and I am invited to come back in a week (or two depending on the season). Good, I am feeling a bit better.

While everything is set up in China, I am still waiting for my gastro in Belgium. Less people, less doctors? Or laziest? Anyway, I am going to pay a lot, I have no medicine to help me get through, I have to wait.

  • YOU GOT IT !?! 

You get it right? I have been back for a month and so and I am still waiting for a ecography !

WHAT??? No, I am a dude ! I’m not pregnant, neither is my man ! An echo just to check if I don’t have anything serious. HAHAHA ! Serious…

You can say whatever you want about China guys. I  experienced both side of health care and treatment and trust me, even if my Chinese isn’t good enough, I managed to get results within 2 weeks. Here, I still have to wait to see what the HECK is going on inside of my body.

Funny story though, or just irony, Chinese medicine is more preventive medicine. Here,WHEN you finally get some results, they give you the ‘good’ stuff to help you get better… at last!

I Never had anything to say against Chinese health care. I have been several times and they treat people as they should even though they have many many patients waiting. It’s fast, good and quick results.

Anyway, I hope you can find some peace if you think about traveling in China.

See you soon guys !

Picture is mine. To see more, go check my Instagram @romaingijsensblog

2 thoughts on “911 What’s Your Emergency? China vs Europe

  1. I totally agree… our health care might be considered good but it’s a mess and they make you wait way too long. You have to be close to dying before they actually do something. I’ve been struggling with health issues for a while and it took them way too long to find out what was going on. I had my next appointment a month later or so, just to find out that was just another way to schedule a “real” appointment… another 3 weeks later. It was bothering me to death! Anyway, I hope you’re feeling better and I hope it’s nothing too serious! X


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