Ask the medical unit at your embassy or school about available healthcare specialists in obstetrics, gynaecology or paediatrics, etc… and about good hospitals and clinics. Bangkok’s medical families are often first-class, with doctors who have been well-trained abroad and who speak fluent English acquired during their student days overseas, and their everyday use of it with English-speaking expat patients. Many hospitals are often less expensive than equivalent families in the US or elsewhere. This is also true in other urban areas of the kingdom, although less so in the rural zones.
Hospitals can either be government-run or privately owned, mostly by consortia of businesspeople and doctors. So the problem of unnecessary and expensive tests that exists in the west also exists here in Thailand. The concept of patients’ rights hasn’t full taken hold here, nor has the idea of informed consent for many treatments So be proactive in your medical care.
Find doctors and hospitals that will get to know you personally, and get referrals from knowledgeable ‘old hands’ While some doctors maintain their own clinics of offices, more are affiliated with hospitals, so expats will often find themselves visiting their doctors in hospitals. Many competent doctors spit their time between two or even more hospitals, scheduling their visits on different days or at different times. Expats may need to learn their doctors schedule to be able to find him or her when needed.
Home Medical Kits
Everyone should keep a basic medical kit at home where is it easily accessible to adults. Here are the contents recommended by the US Embassy medical unit and a doctor at the Bangkok Nursing Home.
Band-aids or plasters. These come in several handy sizes; a variety would be good to have on hand. Thai’s call them plasters with the emphasis on the second syllable – plaster.
Antibiotic cream and anti-fungal cream. There are also some creams that are a combination of both. A pharmacist can guide you on these.
Soap. Anti-bacterial brands are widely available here.
Pepto-Bismol, either in pills or liquid. Equivalents are available locally.
Tylenol in small doses, also called Paracetamol. Also hot-pink-coloured tablets called Bufren are available in Thailand. The generic name is Ibuprofen. (In the US, the brand name is Advil.)
Asprin. But don’t dose yourself with this for fevers unless you know from a doctor that you do not have dengue fever.
Cotton swaps and cotton buds.
Sunburn cream and sunblock lotion. The higher the protection number, the better.
Jaico, Sketolene, or other good mosquito repellent.
Bethadine solution for cleaning wounds, or iodine, which is locally know as tincture, with the accent on the second syllable.
Dettol liquid, which is an antiseptic to add to a bath for haemorrhoids or other problems with sore bottoms.
Elastic bandages for sprains.
Anti-diarrhoeics are not recommended as they sometimes operate counter to the need of the body to clear out whatever is causing the problem. But Imodium is a good multi-purpose medication for this problem, should you decide to use one.