|A view of the casinos from my hospital room at Kiang Wu Hospital in Macau.|
One public hospital, 36 casinos: Macau's skewed bet on prosperity." It is a little funny when you think about how many casinos there are here and only 1 public hospital. But we also have to keep in mind that the population in Macau is relatively small and women here have the 1st highest life expectancy rate in the world in terms of longevity. The Macau Daily Times article reported that according to the Central Intelligence Agencies latest report, "Macau actually beats Japan in the longevity stakes, coming in second worldwide with an average life expectancy of 84.43 years topping the Japanese figures of 83.91.
So, with such a healthy city, I guess in all reality the hospitals are doing pretty good to service the population here. As I noticed with my own hospital experience, they will try and hold you hostage to get as much pay off as they can get! The young girl sharing a room with me simply had a bad cold and stayed in the hospital with an IV for 5 days until she was well again. Her boyfriend came over regularly and hung out, and she was just hanging around reading Chinese gossip magazines all day until someone brought her food and entertained her a bit.
Basically to get any tests ordered within a reasonable amount of time, you need to sit there as an in-patient, or else you have to brave the long ticket lines of the out-patient department and scheduling line which can often result in waiting 1-3 months before you get any tests run. This is simply due to the fact that there is not enough medical equipment or doctors to service all of the patients in the hospital. And the fact that there are only 2 hospitals in Macau that accept the national health insurance.
Not wanting to pay up front at a private doctor, I flew home to use my American insurance and see doctors who really knew what they were doing. I'm not saying all doctors in Macau are bad, but the second I got home, they immediately started testing me for a million things that the doctors here would have never considered based on my symptoms. It could have been months or even longer before I was diagnosed if I had waited in Macau.
So, lesson learned. When you are stuck in a really bad health situation, make sure you have a back up plan in case you are working outside of the country and get sick. You might just end up like me, taking all 10 of my sick days and hopping on a flight home to see a doctor.