Travel|December 1, 2010 9:39 am

Medical Tourism in Thailand: Bumrungrad International Hospital

Being laid up in the hospital is bad news. In fact, the only thing worse than being poked, prodded and pushed around while being at our worst and weakest is opening the insanely large bill that jumps up off the table and smacks us upside the head when we get home, as if we hadn’t gone through enough already! Unfortunately, being living, breathing creatures means that our bodies are occasionally going to break down and be in need of a skilled mechanic. It’s inevitable, but it doesn’t have to be as painful and hard on the wallet as we have come to expect it to be. Instead of using unreasonably expensive Western doctors, who oftentimes have dreary and cold bedside manners, we can take care of our medical needs in Thailand, the land of smiles. Rather than trying to tackle the entire breadth of the Thai medical tourism industry in one short article, I am going to let you in on just one little secret, Bangkok’s Bumrungrad International Hospital (pronounced Bahm-roong-RAHT).

I know what you’re thinking, “One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble.” Bangkok is known more for Khao San Road, sex shows and prostitutes than it is for good, clean, safe hospitals. Before you become judge, jury and executioner, though, consider a few things. First of all, while parts of Bangkok are wild and crazy, most of the city is inhabited by regular folks who have jobs and families and who just want to live out a nice, peaceful life—just like you. Secondly, let’s consider the hospital itself.

Bumrungrad treats over 400,000 international patients from 190 countries per year. It is accredited by the Joint Commission International (JCI), the international arm of the organization that reviews and accredits American hospitals. That means it’s as good as any hospital in the States. It’s better. How much do they understand the value of providing good service? They have their own desk in the arrival area at the airport. They’ll meet you there and provide plane-to-hospital VIP service. They also offer high-quality serviced apartments at reasonable rates, so you can stay and rest in peace while recovering. But, honestly, why stay in Bangkok? Since you’ll be in Thailand already, head out to one of the country’s world-class beaches for your R-and-R. Don’t worry about contacting a travel agent. The travel specialists at Bumrungrad will arrange everything for you.

All of this talk about VIP service and world-class beaches, it must be expensive, right? Wrong. Prices for medical procedures vary but, on average, are about a third of what you would expect to pay in the US. Interestingly, Bumrungrad offers medical “packages,” which you can see for yourself here, http://www.bumrungrad.com/package/index.aspx. And, of course, don’t forget to check with your insurance company; many have global benefits programs that cover overseas treatments.

Here’s to health and happiness, and to viewing the treatment of an ailment as an opportunity to enjoy a nice vacation. Just be sure to check with your doctor before mixing your medication with your margarita!

Received medical in Thailand? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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