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God Help You If You Need Hospital Treatment In Sri Lanka!!

Internationalguy
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God Help You If You Need Hospital Treatment In Sri Lanka!!

I dislocated my left shoulder in Sri Lanka in early December 2012 whilst body surfing in Mirissa. A powerful wave ripped my arm out. For those who have never had a shoulder dislocation, I cannot begin to explain how much it hurts. I broke my leg before and this is more painful.

I went to a private hospital in Matara 8 miles away by taxi as there were no ambulances. I was asked for my name by the medical officer there. He didn't even examine me or show any compassion. I was told by the medical officer to go for an x-ray, so I was pushed in a wheelchair to the third floor and to the other side of the hospital to the x-ray room. However, it was locked and the technician was on a prolonged break. The hospital porter just abandoned me for 15 minutes to find out where the technician was. Finally I was taken back down to the medical officer who said that I have to go up to the x-ray room again. I told him there was no one there. He made a phone call and told me to go back up. This time the technician was there. This whole ordeal took an hour and I was in excruciating pain throughout. Finally, the medical officer told me that there is no orthopaedic doctor for another 3 hours. He could have told me this when I first arrived to save me an agonizing wait of one hour. I told him that I couldn't wait so he said that I would have to go to another hospital. He agreed to transport me there by ambulance but charged me for the ambulance.

I arrived at the 2nd private hospital and dealt with another medical officer, who also didn't really show any empathy or compassion. The hospital refused to treat me until I paid the equivalent of GBP 250 in cash upfront, which I did not have. They couldn't care less about my travel insurance details. I was sitting in a wheelchair crying in an office and this medical officer in front of me was laughing on the phone to a friend. After letting me suffer without treatment for an hour, they did a U-turn and agreed to give me medical treatment by way of general anaesthetic and to take credit card payment afterwards.

After I was discharged, I returned to my guesthouse in Mirissa and spoke to the guesthouse owners who said that they and many others had complained about the treatment they had received at these hospitals, but were ignored. The following day I went back to the 2nd hospital and complained to the General Manager about both hospitals. He is responsible for both of them as they belong to the same parent company. Two weeks later he emailed me to say that the first medical officer was suspended for 2 weeks, the second medical officer was suspended for 1 month, and the accounts person who blocked my medical treatment was given a written warning. So, it does pay to complain and you will help the local people as well.

Colombo, Sri Lanka
Destination Expert
for Sri Lanka
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1. Re: God Help You If You Need Hospital Treatment In Sri Lanka!!

Hi Cyrus,

Totally agree for all hospitals (private and govt) outside Colombo. The main private hospitals in Colombo however are almost Western standard, and with some difficulty also recognise your Western travel or other medical insurance. However that takes time (fax procedure 1-2 hours) so for emergency matters it might still be needed to pay or show creditcard upfront; not unique to Lanka, had something similarly painful (dislodged elbow) in a Moroccan private hospital.

All the best,

<Erik> & [Sandya]

2. Re: God Help You If You Need Hospital Treatment In Sri Lanka!!

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Removed on: 13 September 2013, 08:05
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Destination Expert
for Sri Lanka
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52,729 posts
179 reviews
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3. Re: God Help You If You Need Hospital Treatment In Sri Lanka!!

Hi Sue,

Ever have close contact with other nerds? Just a mindset, and as long as I have time and Sandya does not object why not?

Tnx,

<Erik> & [Sandya]

newcastle upon tyne
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4. Re: God Help You If You Need Hospital Treatment In Sri Lanka!!

Sounds an awful experience, you have to remember Sri Lanka is a 3rd world country at the end of the day, although it wouldn't surprise me if hospital care in the UK was much better to be honest !!

Erik & Hans answer nearly every question asked on the forum (even the duplicate ones that have just been asked several times in the last few weeks). Very helpful people, you do feel like they should be paid for their time, advice & patience :)

somerset uk
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5. Re: God Help You If You Need Hospital Treatment In Sri Lanka!!

The following extract from my travel experiences may amuse

"It was on this trip(January 2010) that I had my one and only experience (so far) of Sri Lanka’s medical profession. I got bitten by some “small creature” on the side of my right calf. It seemed OK for a couple of days but one morning looked a bit beezy so I put some Savlon and a plaster on it, to keep the flies off if nothing else. A day later and it looked decidedly iffy so I asked Anoma what she thought. “You see doctor soon – come back this evening, we go hospital”. I really did not fancy going all the way back to Unawatuna and then back to Galle that evening so I said “No, if we go at all we go now”. So Anoma and I piled into Ranjith’s tuk tuk and went to the hospital. After a wait of half an hour we saw a doctor who agreed I had been bitten, said that I was days too late applying Savlon and that I needed some sort of antibiotic and for the nurse to clean the wound and bandage it properly. So another wait to see the nurse who patched me up. It then came time to pay. The bill for the doctor and the nurse was about £6. But Anoma refused to let me pay for the doctor’s element of this – about £3. “He do nothing. He say what we already know. You pay nurse but not doctor”. Well of course the accountant at reception did not agree so Anoma insisted on seeing the hospital manager. Upstairs to the office and a heated debate took place. I was thinking “Come on – I don’t mind paying it and getting out of here as soon as possible” - but a few £’s is nothing to me whereas to Anoma it was a day’s wages and not to be treated lightly. She won! Having paid the nurse it was off to a pharmacy to buy the antibiotics. The wound did slowly recover – I checked with my GP on return who said it was all sorted out but I did have visions of nasty little worms eating their way through my leg. I still have the scar."

I certainly would not want to suffer anything more serious when in SL.

Richard

USA
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6. Re: God Help You If You Need Hospital Treatment In Sri Lanka!!

I Feel very sorry for your experience and glad that at least something was done when you complained ( which often - does not get results - so hurrah!) having said that , those of you who may read this post should keep in mind that in my opinion, only Colombo hospitals Govt and private can take care of you as you should . When out of colombo with the exception of Kandy , I would bear excruciating pain and travel to colombo to get taken care of. In teh long run, the time you save goiing from one outstation hospital to another, will be better spent taking a direct trip to Colombo.

They will better deal with your foreign health insurances as well.

hope you are better now!

Brisbane
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7. Re: God Help You If You Need Hospital Treatment In Sri Lanka!!

Cyrus - I hope you are recovered now. I do hope that your action in reporting the doctors will benefit local people however they give doctors a god status which results in such disdainful behaviour from them.

Ric - Good for Anoma! Proof that Sri Lankan women are stronger than appearances would suggest.

I would agree with hrhsan about heading for Colombo or Kandy and I can recommend the Adventist Hospital in Kandy for good treatment - after the doctor got over the fact that we had already "diagnosed and self treated" a severe asthma episode and asked what more we wanted. Doctors generally in SL guard their expertise carefully failing to educate their patients about their ongoing health issues and how medication works for them.

Archi

Manchester, United...
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8. Re: God Help You If You Need Hospital Treatment In Sri Lanka!!

"Hi Sue,

Ever have close contact with other nerds? Just a mindset, and as long as I have time and Sandya does not object why not?

Tnx,

<Erik> & [Sandya]"

Well Eric, your help whether due to nerdiness or not is certainly appreciated. Ive never seen such helpful, instant information from you and a few others here, on any other travel forum. Love the lack of attitude too that usually goes along with other travel forum's.

As far as medical treatment. I've had a few minor ailments that required a trip to the hospital in Colombo, and were taken care of in the most professional way. Ive had nothing but great experiences with SL doctors and at a fraction of a western price.

Manila, Philippines
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9. Re: God Help You If You Need Hospital Treatment In Sri Lanka!!

Well,I am sorry for the bad experience you had in Sri Lanka.But you cannot generalize and criticize all doctors and nurses.They all are not the same.Sri Lanka is very good in providing health care.I have travelled to many European countries and Asian countries and I know that there are people who particularly go to Sri Lanka for medical treatments.If anyone who get sick outside main cities like Colombo,Kandy and Galle, the best thing is to go to a government hospital...or in case if you need to be hospitalized, go to a main city.After all, Sri Lanka claims to have had the world's oldest hospital, so healthcare industry cannot be that bad.

castleford
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10. Re: God Help You If You Need Hospital Treatment In Sri Lanka!!

you must be a soft lad try playing rugby dislocate your shoulder go to the touchline somebody will put it back in then you are back playing