health care in Hohhot (and beyond)

I wrote a post last year about getting medical care in Hohhot. (Click link to read it)

Unfortunately, we’ve had to access the Chinese medical system even more since then, so this post is to update some of our thoughts and opinions.

This is what we’ve learned about the medical system in Hohhot. This post just represents our opinion and experience so if you have other suggestions or experiences please leave a comment.

  • It seems to us that very few locals just walk in and see a doctor that they have no prior relationship with. They call friends until they know someone who knows someone who is the kind of doctor they need. You too, should use relationship when possible. Ask a local friend who they know and that will go a long way toward having a better experience.
  • Find out what each hospital specializes in or is known for being good at. For example, we’ve recently learned that the 356 Hospital (Wu Jing Yi Yuan) supposedly has the best doctors and equipment for treating kidney stones using ESWL. And the 253 Hospital is known for good cosmetic surgery. (No, I didn’t have cosmetic surgery, but my daughter did get stitches in her face. 🙁 We were recommended to go there to lessen the chance of a scar). We have found that many times once you get to a doctor, they will generally tell you clearly if you are at the right place or not. If you chose the wrong department, they’ll tell you. If they don’t have the skill to diagnose or treat your condition, they will tell you and refer you to someone/somewhere who can. It is frustrating to have to go to more than one place, but it’s better in the end to get better, more skillful care.
  • In our experience, getting any test (blood work, MRI, CT, etc) is easy and cheap. Getting the proper diagnosis and/or treatment plan is more difficult. (especially if you’re not interested in Chinese or Mongolian medicine) We’ve had good experience with getting the test here then sending the the results to a doctor we trust in Beijing or at home in the US to make a diagnosis or make a treatment plan.
  • Overuse of antibiotics is a big deal. They pass out IV antibiotics before any tests are run, before it’s known if the condition is even caused by a bacteria in the first place. Here are some articles that address this problem’s causes and solutions for improvement better than I could. My simple advice is don’t take them until you are certain they are necessary.
    http://www.nationmultimedia.com/opinion/China-faces-great-risk-due-to-overuse-of-antibioti-30207488.html
    http://content.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2103733,00.html
    http://www.bmj.com/content/348/bmj.g1083
    http://jac.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2013/06/24/jac.dkt223.abstract
  • My basic advice about getting medical attention in Hohhot is this: Avoid it when possible. Eat healthy foods, exercise, and avoid high-risk behaviors. Next, if you must seek medical care, the system here is adequate for routine tests, minor illnesses, or situations that need to be addressed quickly (the stitches in my daughter’s face, for example). For anything else, my advice is to get to Beijing or another large city.

If you are in the situation where you have an issue that needs to be addressed with a greater standard of care, I highly recommend OASIS INTERNATIONAL HOSPITAL in Beijing.  Oasis opened in 2012 and they were so great to us when we were there in February. They provide an international level of care in an English-speaking environment, for prices lower than Beijing United in most cases. (And much more willing to work with us on prices than BJU ever was). They’re also been great to let us send results and provide consults via the phone and we’re grateful for the care they’ve given us.

I hope you don’t need to use it, but here is their contact information if you do:

OASIS HEALTHCARE
No. 9 Jiuxianqiao Bei Lu
Chaoyang District, Beijing 100015 China

北京明德医院有限公司
北京市朝阳区酒仙桥北路9号

Telephone 400 UR OASIS (876 2747)
Office (+86 10) 5985 0361 | Mobile (+86) 138 10700199
24-Hour Emergency Service (+86 10) 5985 0333

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