First Visit to the Hospital

Today, like we use to do every friday afternoon, I’ve been playing soccer. While I was playing, I felt like my head and neck started itching.. “uhm, Korean shampoo must be not very good for me, that’s why” that’s what I thought…Well, when we finished training, I felt something really weird all over my face and specially on my lips, as if I had gone to the beach all day long and had gotten sunburned really badly. I asked my teammates and they told me there was something strange with my face, so I went to look in the restroom’s mirror and what I saw was a totally red face with lots of wrinkles on it. It was then when I realized something really bad was going on in my body. So I started thinking…

First thing that came to my mind: “I got bitten by a mosquito with some Asian illness… but wait, I got my vaccinations against everything! It can’t be that!” There were so many mosquitoes at the place where we leave our clothes, and in Spain we hear many stories about mosquitoes in Asia, so I don’t like these bugs very much.

After that, my teammates, tried to calm me down and told me it looked like an allergic reaction to something I ate. For lunch, we had lunch at an Italian restaurant. I had a Gamberetti Pizza, with mozzarella and shrimps, so because of the shrimps, it made sense… By the way, I do have a picture of that lunch, so here it is:


Ok, so the five spanish interns decided to go to the hospital by ourselves without speaking a single word of Korean. The hospital we went to is the Severance Hospital, and it’s next to where we were playing. I will definitely dedicate a post to this hospital, because it looks like an airport rather than a hospital, they say it’s one of the best in South Korea, and I have no doubt about it. Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera with me. Nor was I in the mood to take pictures, because I was still thinking I could die of that strange thing I had..

At the hospital we had to manage with our “kunglish” with the doctors at the ER, who were really nice, by the way. They told me that what I had was urticaria, this can be caused by many things, and they didn’t really know what caused mine. They also drew me some blood to analyze it, but they didn’t find anything either (I think they knew they wouldn’t find anything, but they did it so that they could charge me for that, as this is all private healthcare).

About the healthcare system, I have to say it looks quite similar to the American system. Everything is private, business. And a hospital is a service like any other. You go to the hospital, you are healed, you pay and leave. Just like going to the hairdresser:P

I had to pay 343,050 won (1000 won are $1 more or less). As I couldn’t take any picture of the hospital, I’ll show you the bill I got:


Let’s see what they charged me:

  1. Medication: 45,000 won for some pills they gave me. I have to take these pills for 3 or 4 days.
  2. Laboratory Test: 173,300 won for the blood extraction and analysis. Analysis which they didn’t get any answer from, just as I expected (something similar happened to me in the US).
  3. Treatment/Procedure: 43,200 won for the service.
  4. Medical Supplies: 1,440 won for the syringes they used to draw me blood, I guess.
  5. OPD Visit Fee: 80,500 won for (I think) being waiting for longer than one hour with saline solution at a place with more ill people, some of them on beds, and some, like me, just sitting on chairs.

So this is what a visit to the hospital costs in South Korea. I don’t want to imagine this happening to a person without insurance… It’s in moments like this when I feel so glad that healtcare in Spain is socialized and works pretty well (at least most of the times it does). For me, now it’s time to do paperwork and call my insurance company so that I can get my money back.

As (unfortunately) some of you know and all of you can imagine, if falling sick in your country already is a bad experience, falling sick in a country you don’t know and which language you can hardly understand is three or four times worse. So I thank God everything was just a fright and you guys can be sure that before Manolo surrenders to Seoul, Seoul will surrender to Manolo. 😀