The Bloody Challenge in Iloilo City

After getting a referral from the rudest doctor in the Philippines, located at Iloilo Doctor's Hospital,  for some blood work the doctor did not think necessary,  my wife and I are off to St. Paul's Hospital in Iloilo because the obnoxious physician evidently didn't think the staff at her own facility could  handle the simple task of drawing blood.  I had slightly elevated high cholesterol levels back in the States and haven't had any blood tests done in years. I experienced a kidney stone attack last February where I was taken to Great Saviour's Hospital in Iloilo. Three technicians and a doctor could not even draw blood from me after a total of five attempts. Needless to say, I wasn't thrilled about the prospect of multiple stabbings again. I don't mind the sight of blood as long as it's not mine. Nurse eSo my asawa and I arrive at St. Paul's Hospital and go to the laboratory department where we are given a slip to take to the cashier's office to pay for the examination first, which is standard practice in the Philippines. I hate to leave the super-chilled air of the lab to return to the humid, hot hallways of the hospital, but after getting a ticket from the armed security guard, we wait our turn at the cashier's counter. In just a few minutes we're able to pay the  2,074 peso fee (47.72 US Dollars) and make our way back to the lab.

Here's the complete cost breakdown of the blood test:

  • FBS                                    P105.00
  • CREATININE                P140.00
  • URIC ACID                    P200.00
  • LIPID PROFILE           P735.00
  • CBC                                   P240.00
  • POTASSIUM                 P340.00
  • SODIUM                         P340.00
  • CALCIUM                      P340.00

As you can see, it's a fairly comprehensive blood test, now if they can just get my blood out without butchering me. It's not long before my technician, Christine, calls me over. I explain the unfortunate incident at Great Saviour's Hospital in Iloilo. She does not seem fazed by the bloody challenge, takes my left arm first,  looking for a good vein (I don't tell her that other nurses and techs usually use a vein from my right arm. I'm not the professional.)

However, Christine soon takes my right arm instead, finds a vein, and without me barely feeling the slightest prick, she draws my blood in the first attempt! I praise her effort, stand up and claim her as "the best medical technician in all of the Philippines." She smiles and thanks me. I can imagine celestial choirs singing the praises of this wonder tech! Christine informs me that I can pick up the test results at one o'clock in the afternoon. I thank her and head off with my asawa for lunch.

We return to the lab at one pm and get the blood test results. I ask Christine where we can find a doctor to interpret  the results for me since there was no way I was going back to the rude doctor that gave me the referral. She said we could go to the Emergency Room for a doctor's referral. After checking what doctors were available at the hospital, the Triage Nurse at Emergency gave us the room number at St. Paul's of a doctor who was a Cardiologist and Doctor of Internal Medicine.

We arrive at the office and discover that he is the SAME doctor that also has an office in Doctor's Hospital which he shares with the rudest doctor in the Philippines that I had recently locked horns with. There was no way I was going to see this guy, I told my wife. She informed me that the female physician is not in this office and that this is the original doctor I was going to see anyway. I sit and fume (ok, you could also exchange the word "pout" for "fume.") There's a long line of patients waiting ahead of  us. I'm not happy.

An hour passes. I take out the blood examination results again and discover that the normal range for each  part of the blood test is listed on the side of the results.  I have a slightly high cholesterol level, but everything else looks fine. I tell my wife that we should leave. The doctor is just going to tell me to exercise, lose weight, and eat healthier. She insists on us staying because she wants me to have a regular doctor and an physical exam in the near future. I fume some more and wait.

Another hour passes. The receptionist comes out, and my wife asks her how long it might be before we get to see the doctor. She informs my asawa that there are still a lot of patients ahead of me. I  let my wife know in no uncertain terms that I am not waiting any longer. We leave. Go back to "The Compound" in Guimaras.

Still have to find a personal physician for myself, but  I'll do that at a future date. Right now I'm just wore out from all the doctors and hospitals we have recently visited. But since I promised my asawa I would go to a doctor for a future check-up,  I will. Otherwise she will continue to remind me about it. Again. And again. And again (and I know it's only because she loves me!}

Author: The Kano

POST AUTHOR: "THE KANO." Dave DeWall, "The Kano", is the Publisher & Editor-in-Chief of "Philippines Plus" in publication since August 2009. He is also the CEO of Lizard Poop Productions and author of the best-selling guide book "The Philippines Expat Advisor." Dave moved to the Philippines in July 2009 from Central Illinois with his lovely wife of over 19 years, "The Sainted Patient Wife." The couple reside in a rural province in Western Visayas, Guimaras. The small island province is said to have the sweetest mangoes in the world. They do not have any children but are the proud owners of eight active canines, including a Belgian Shepherd called "Killer" "Killer" has bitten five people in the last two years along with one goat and a carabao. "Killer" doesn't like strangers. Or goats. Or carabaos.

27 thoughts on “The Bloody Challenge in Iloilo City

  1. Doctors, needles, yikes! I have those hard to find veins as well and once got stuck 5 times which explains why I haven’t been to a doctor in about 25 years now.

    1. I can relate, Tony. Just come over to the Philippines and visit St. Paul’s Hospital in Iloilo next time you want a blood test. Remember to ask for Christine.

        1. OK, Tony, sometimes it’s hard for me to keep track of where everyone is, sorry. Don’t blame you for passing on the blood tests, though. I was really fortunate to have a great tech at St. Paul’s.

            1. OK, Tony, got it! Say, you’re in the running so far for a Poopy this month. I’m going to try and get Filipina bold star, Ara Mina, to hand out the awards next month.

  2. Getting a needle so many times.just to find a vein……..makes my arm hurt just to think about that……….but the prices for medical service in Philippines look really cheap…….compared to cost in America

    1. The US (by official rankings of the World Health Organization which, strangely enough, is financed substantially by the US)) is number one in only one area of medicine … costs. In terms of world-wide standardize statistics, like infant mortality, hospital-acquired infections, etc., the US actually ranks 37th. That’s right, 37th. You can look it up. France is number one, by the way. But indeed medical costs n the Philippines are a great lure to living here for me.

      1. Interesting fact, Dave. I just checked the Philippines infant mortality rate, and the website I looked at ranks the Philippines as 101st in the world. Sure thought the States would have a higher ranking than 37th. And France is number one? Would’ve never guessed it.

  3. Dave you have spent more time in hospitals….than George Clooney in the tv show E.R. ………..maybe the filipina nurse’s……just like getting a chance to see the Kano

    1. Ha ha, yeah, it does seem that way lately, Ralph in Iraq. I got a few looks while I was in the hospital hallways, but the asawa was always close by on sentry duty.

  4. Back in Michigan I had Medicare and Blue Cross/Blue Shield Medigap. Office calls and blood work was always “zero.”

    Just my AC1 blood test is 650 pesos. The last full blood work was over 850 pesos but I had more done than yours.

    My trouble is that I might have bone cancer on my left shin. I checked and the chemo is 30,000 per month. I don’t have it so that is out of the question. Still have Medicare but no money for the plane fare to Guam. Sometimes life is hard no matter where a person lives.

    Got that off my chest, feel better.

      1. Gary

        Will also keep you in my prayers. Hopefully everything will work out for you. Try to stay positive. Shouldn’t you be able to get Philhealth Insurance?

    1. Gary …is there any local health care insurance that is available for Americans living in the Philippines…….Don’t know if my asawa is correct or not……but she says i can sign on to her Philippine health care insurance ……..when we marry……like I said she may have her facts mixed up

      1. Hey Ralph, your wife is right on. Meriam signed me up and then paid for a whole year. A total of 1,200 pesos. Yep, only 100 pesos per month. I have a waiting period of 3 to 6 months and it only pays 30% at best but Philhealth is the best deal over here. How much it pays depends on what type of hospital you go to. Lots to learn about it!!! Thanks.

        1. I have to sign up for that, too. Gary. I was told by a PhilHealth rep that all I needed was a certified NSO copy of our marriage contract, and we’re good to go. Only 30% coverage at best, though, huh? Well, for only P100 a month it still sounds like a good deal. Hope everything works out for you.

          1. Dave, someone told me that the portion that PhilHealth pays is enough to get you into the hospital in an emergency without paying a deposit. In an emergency, it saves you the time needed to go home or to the bank to get some money for the hospital deposit. That time savings in an emergency might be more important than the cost savings, especially for someone who has private health insurance that will reimburse the cost later anyways.

            1. That’s good news, Lance. Thanks for the information. Sure could have saved us some time and money when I had that kidney stone attack last year. I’ll be sure to get enrolled this month. The local PhilHealth comes to our local hospital in Guimaras every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

          2. Joy suggests that you also have a specific doctor as a contact at St. Paul’s or Doctor’s Hospital in Iloilo, then if an emergency happens you can request them instead of just getting whichever doctor is on call at that time. Probably Melinda will know what Joy is talking about.

  5. Hi Dave,
    Have a recommendation for you for a good GP Doctor. Been my doctor since 2002 and treats the whole family. His office is 3 city blocks down from the A
    Robert Jacobo MD
    Suite 204, J and B III, Queson st. Iloilo City

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