Penang clinic and hospital experience

I do not have much experience with hospitals and doctors as I live a very healthy life, so I was shocked to discover a medical problem appeared.

I went to a local clinic I’d visited before – the last time was five years ago, but I rarely need a doctor.  I was told the problem would disappear naturally – and I was given some pills, which, on checking, turned out to be a natural supplement and not a drug.  Cost, RM55.

As I had an upcoming trip I thought I’d get a second opinion.  I went to Gleneagles Hospital and saw a specialist in this field.  He was very thorough in his questioning and examination.  His diagnosis was that there was no alternative to surgery, and this would require a general anaesthetic.  It was not life threatening at all, but he booked me for surgery at 6AM the next morning and I was supposed to check in immediately to a hospital ward and stay the night. Thereafter I would have to stay one or two more nights.  I was in a state of shock at this, and the suddenness, the cost, and particularly the necessity for a general anaesthetic, and meekly went along with this, so I went to hospital administration to start the procedure.  The whole thing would be over in less than a day, though, which would be good.  Then I thought that I shouldn’t make such decisions when in shock, and when in an unfamiliar environment.  So I said I’d go home and think about it, instead of immediately checking into a hospital room there.  So I paid the cost of the consultation and medicine (the same pills as from the GP) – just under RM500 – so ten times the GP cost.  The price of the operation, though, was around RM15,000 for something taking less than 30 minutes.

At home I decided to get the opinion of another specialist, and proceeded to the Adventist hospital the next morning.  This specialist, who  had the same specialty as the doctor the previous day,  was also thorough.  His diagnosis was that I should take the same pills as prescribed as the previous two doctors, and that the problem would resolve itself.  Surgery was unnecessary, and even  if it were, there were various alternatives apart from the knife.  Cost for consultation was around RM150 with medicine etc. or three times the clinic, but one-third of Gleneagles.  Waiting time at Adventist was longer, though.

This has just occurred, so I will see how it goes.  I heard from another friend recently that it the problem disappeared by itself.   I  realise that unless something is very urgent it is important to not be rushed into something, but to go away and calmly consider the best approach.  I can always go back to Gleneagles if I need to.


    1. It’s best to be suspicious. According to official US figures I heard that doctors there are responsible for 800,000 deaths per year. So one has to use one’s judgement.

  1. I had the same experience but not in Penang. The doctor was quick to schedule me a slot for surgery and quickly turned sour-faced when I said I wanted to consider my options first. I never trusted a doctor who seemed too eager to get paid ever since.

  2. I believe that you have a health insurance. You could call your insurance and ask for names of doctors with good reputation. Someone from your insurance office took you to the hospital and brought you home long ago, I was amazed by this story at that time. I would be very nervous about this kind of issue. I read that so many horrible stories of botched surgeries, especially unnecessary surgeries that cost a lot and pain. Having a list of decent doctors name recommended by word of mouth is a way to go. Be very careful and good luck.

  3. I read so many horrible stories, there were happy stories at the same time. making a list of good doctors’ information gathered by word of mouth would be crucial. Be very careful and good luck.

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