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Hospitals and English Speaking Docs

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Brooklyn NYC
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Hospitals and English Speaking Docs

Hi,

My wife and I currently have a trip booked to Brussels at the beginning of July at which time she will be nearing the end of her first trimester of pregnancy (we booked the trip before we learned the good news!). She is a little weary of traveling in countries where English is not the first language in case there is a complication and she has to go to the ER. How are the ER's in the hospitals in Brussels? Do most of the personnel speak English - or at least enough to relay important info in case an emergency arises? As American tourists can we expect to receive quality care?

Thanks in advance.

Brussels, Belgium
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1. Re: Hospitals and English Speaking Docs

All Belgian medical services, which have a high reputation, are essentially private, involving payment upfront which is subsequently reclaimed (by Belgians/Europeans) under health insurance schemes . As tourists of any nationality, you can expect to receive exactly the same quality of care as anyone else!

I don't know that it is possible to say that "MOST of the personnel" (from cleaners to clerks to radiologists to nurses to doctors) in hospitals in Brussels speak English, although many Belgians do as a matter of course. There is a substantial expat community here (NATO etc.) but no hospitals specifically for foreigners. I am quite sure that in the event of an emergency, they would find someone to communicate with you/her.

See also belgium.usembassy.gov/medical_facilities.html

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2. Re: Hospitals and English Speaking Docs

Pearcemi,

Consider travel insurance, it will cover medical expenses (as well as baggage loss, trip interuption, etc.) when you;re abroad. It's very reasonable -- around $75 per person.

If it's OK with your wife's doctor, you should continue with your plans. It's very difficult to travel when you have a baby/ toddler/ young child. They generally don't like long plane rides and most people on a long plane ride don't think your restless kid is cute. Additionally, children are not interested in going to museums or in fine cuisine, they want to eat hotdogs and go to Disney!

Have fun and Congrats!

Edited: 22 May 2012, 12:28
brussels
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for Brussels
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3. Re: Hospitals and English Speaking Docs

it is pretty staightforward you just roll up to the urgences and look ill. however i wouldnt put any pressure on anybody to travel if they dont feel happy, you know who will be to blame if anything goes wrong.

There are some places that have reciprical arrangement with us insureres like blue cross in leuven notably heilige hart.

we have had two kids here and only once did the doctors, gynea or obstetric specilaist not speak english, but there is not doubt the comfort level goes down when you are ill and worried. and i do speak reasonable french if i have to.

Brooklyn NYC
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4. Re: Hospitals and English Speaking Docs

Thank you for all of the helpful information. Hopefully it will work out fine.

Luxembourg City...
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5. Re: Hospitals and English Speaking Docs

My experience is that the Dutch-speaking Belgians speak better English than the French-speaking Belgians. Are there hospitals in Brussels in which there are more Dutch-speaking Belgians then in other hospitals?

Brussels, Belgium
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6. Re: Hospitals and English Speaking Docs

AZ-VUB, which is the university hospital (Akademische Ziekenhuis or academic hospital) attached to the Flemish section of Brussels University, the VUB.

Although, I really don't think there is much in it when it comes to medical personnel, and especially the younger ones. The area around the EU institutions is much more French- than Dutch-speaking but hospitals and clinics in the area such as the Clinique du Parc Léopold, get much of their business from there (and from e.g. NATO, Eurocontrol and the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries) and are well-used to dealing with foreigners in English, whatever the mother tongue of their doctors: who these days have generally done part of their training abroad and in English.

Just this morning at the Clinique St. Michel I discovered that the French-speaking head of the gynaecology department speaks fluent English, and another colleague recently found himself dealing with a S. African.

Incidentally if rolling up to an emergency (urgences) department, it is necessary these days to bring a credit card: in the case of the Clinique St. Michel, Visa only (or local bank, i.e. debit card): they require a minimal advance payment (again for St. Michel, €19) and for security reasons, don't take cash.

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7. Re: Hospitals and English Speaking Docs

The main A & E hospital in central Brussels is St Pieters, right in the town centre. Many medical staff there will speak English. In the case of non-emergency problems, Louise Medical Centre on the Avenue Louise has English speaking docs etc as well.

8. Re: Hospitals and English Speaking Docs

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