Monday, August 23, 2010

Korean health check

"Is this a hotel lobby or a hospital room?" This was my first thought when walking into the Korean hospital to receive my mandatory health check.

Lets just say that going to the hospital in Korea is a completely different experience then going back in the states. One would expect a private room for tests, however this is not the case. All patients walk into a big room where there are little stations for each test.The room at the hospital I went to looked more like a Victorian hotel lobby with elaborate blue satin benches. The following website states that many hospitals are becoming more hotel orientated to bring back "natural elements."

Here is what to expect.

1. Check in at the lobby. A lady will ask you for your passport and will fill out some paperwork. Next you will pay $102. Make sure to keep your receipt because most companies will reimburse you for the entire health check.
2. Get naked and robed. Because they do not speak English very well, I was shocked when the nurse told me to take all of my clothes off in the room behind me and come back and sit in the lobby. What she really meant was to change into a robe and return to the lobby. I couldn't help but laugh hysterically, as I sat in a lobby dressed in a bright pink robe. To make the situation even more embarrassing, a Korean guy from work accompanied me the entire time to help the process go more smoothly.
3. Pee in a cup. Next you go to the bathroom and fill one cup and two test tubes up with pee. Then you will place the samples outside of the bathroom in a black box. Long story short, make sure to come with a full bladder the day of your health check.
4. Next, you go through a series of fast examinations.
Test No. 1 consists of getting your height and weight. A crazy high tech machine will do all the work.
Test No. 2 is a blood pressure test. You will place your entire arm in a machine that does the test for the nurse. Test no. 3 is when you will get your blood drawn. Yes, you will be getting your blood drawn in public!
Test No. 4 is a chest x-ray. Be sure to take your bra off in advance or the technician will do two x-rays. I know because this happened to me!
Test No. 5 consists of a hearing and eye check. Be sure to brush up on your Korean skills because the eye check letters are mostly in Hangul! (Please note my sarcasm.)
Test No. 6 You will finally be alone with a doctor as he/she makes you breathe deeply and spread your fingers out to make sure they are not webbed.

Although the entire health check seemed hilarious, patients can be in and out in as quick as 20 minutes. The basic health check-up system is very efficient and well organized. Just be prepared to sit in a robe in front of tons of other patients. For any other information on the health check visit

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