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It Pays To Keep Asking And Questioning.


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Recently there have been several threads going on the subject of medical care available in Thailand. I thought I would relate the experience that my wife and I have recently had.

Around end May/ early June my wife started to have headaches and the odd dizzy spell. At first she thought it may be related to the menopause which she has been coping with for the last year or two.The headaches would come at any time day or night and last about 3/4 hours. Afterwards she would feel listless and tired out. She has always been an active person about the house but once the headaches started she became less active and always seemed to want to rest.

Anyway she saw the local doctor who also thought it was related to the menopause. She was given several tablets but no found improvement at all. She then went to another local doctor who advised rest and again more tablets. Still no improvement. Next we went to the Army hospital on Lopburi to see a specialist who works mornings only, when we got there we found it is only one morning a week so another doctor checked her , more tablets and again nothing.

While this was going on, her father aged 93, became ill and was put into hospital for 10 nights. She being the only daughter, opted to stay through the nights with him and was very concerned for him. Her mother aged 88 is confined to a wheelchair and again she worried and was helping her during the day as well as doing her job of running a school canteen feeding 300 plus meals a day.

Around mid July she noticed that her hand/ eye coordination on the left side was not working. The classic was sitting at the table with a knife, a mango, and a plastic water bottle on the table in front of her. She picked up the knife and reached out with the left hand, took hold of the bottle and tried to peel it.

Finally on Saturday July 24th, she had had enough, so went down to Bangkok and saw a neuro specialist at Bangkok Christian hospital. Told all her headaches due to stress and worry with father/ mother and again more pills.

That night at home I checked the pills out on the net..... one was paracetmol with a fancy name, another was prescribed for people coming off acohol and suffering depressions and worry, the other 2 seemed to be for generall headaches. Later that night she was beside herself so we went to the outpatients dept of our local small hospital in Singburi. The young doctor there concurred that the medicine from Bangkok Christian did seem to be wrong and put her on a drip for a couple of hours, more pills and home.

The next morning she spoke with a sister in law who suggested that she go to Bangkok again and see a specialist at Thonburi Hospital. So on the Monday26 th July we went down to this Hospital and saw a neuro specialist, more pills and an injection to relieve the pain. Again told to try and not worry about her parents, and to stay home and rest. Being driven home was terribly painful for her, she felt very bump and turn. Once at home she just layed on the floor and said she felt the worse she had ever been. The headache just wouldn't go away. We phoned Thonburi Hospital and were told the injection helps some people and not others.....depending on the headaches!!!

To try and help her that night we went back to the private hospital in Singburi, who addmitted her and put her on a drip to help her sleep and relieve the headache. Another young doctor there suggested that as pills didn't clear the headache perhaps an xray may show something. This was done, we were in the bedroom for about an hour when 2 doctors came and saw us, to say that the xrays showed 2 tumours in or around the brain. Most probaly the cause of the headaches.

Next day early back to Bangkok and Thonburi hospital. Saw a wonderufl dedicated doctor there this time, who checked the xrays, ordered a scan, had a host of blood checks done, put her on a steroid drip to ease the pain and arranged for further tests for the following day.The upshot 3 tumors, not 2, and the pressure on the brain was causing the serious lack of cordination between the left eye and left hand. The tests showed no cancer else- where in her body and the eyes had no damage at all. Sh e had a brain biopsy and the doctors recomended a course of chemo for 3./4 months followed by radation if needed.

So on the 16th of August she started the chemo. Lucky for us she was addmitted into Siirriaj hospital to start the chemo programme. The first treatment was for 10 days, 2nd for 3 days. 3rd for 10 days and at present she is doing her 4th for 3 days. Then 2 more 10 days and 2 more 3 days fo finish.At all the treaments she has 3 days of spinal injections and has to lie on the bed on her back for 6 hours.

Our life has been turned upside down and the last few weeks seem a blur. But she is a very brave, confident girl and is so determined to beat the cancers and to have a normal life afterwards.Great support from family here. and my family overseas, as well as many friends here and overseas.Their thoughts and prayers have given her a great boost.

The reason I have written this is to very strongly advise all who have a problem medically to push, and question, and don;t be afraid to get a second or third opinion if you are not happy with the information being given.Looking back we tried with 3 GPS, 2 specialists, followed by several other specialists to get to where we are today. Often all the converstions would be in Thai, which I don't speak, but my wife would ask them to explain in English or she would explain to me.I always question things and found most Thai doctors will be evasive or give simple answers to questions.



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I wish you all the best. I agree with this, 3 hospitals (BCH, Chula and Bumrungrad) with a out of pocket expense you would not believe, specialists, GP's all just pumping out expensive drugs, with no relevant tests being done. It took my research to get some peace of mind. Health care in this day and age is MORE about taking care of yourself first, glad you got onto it.


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Thanks for posting; indeed a story of lessons learnt and good advice to follow. Be polite, be patient but be persistant when dealing with the local health care system. There are excellent physicians out there but, as in any health care system, some not so excellent ones as well.

The very best wishes for her full and speedy recovery!!

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