12-12-14 - DC: Got a note from a friend, MK, concerned about my
condition as I have been reporting I've had some low level bug for the
last couple of months here in Bali. He wrote:
I tried to do some research for you and copied Tindog’s post on Lonely
Planet from about 4 years old. I hope a Catchpool has moved there since.
DC: Dr Catchpool was a Brit doctor in Sausalito who was a
specialist in tropical diseases. We both had seen him.
If you must go to a doctor you will,
unfortunately, run into one of the more ugly aspects of Bali. Medical
care - and medical competance - in Indonesia is not really up to
scratch, and that very much includes Bali. To make matters worse, it
generally seems that hypocratic oaths mean nothing on the Island of the
Gods and a sick foreigner is simply an excellent business oppertunity.
There are various clinics and hospitals aimed specifically at
foreigners, which inevitably charge sky-high prices. As a rule the small
"clinics" dotted around resort areas like Kuta and Sanur are best
avoided altogether. Judging by the stories that emerge from these places
the competancy - and even the qualifications - of the staff are often in
There are more established "foreigner medical facilities", highest
profile of which is BIMC on the main Kuta-Sanur road. Lots of hotels
direct their guests there, and plenty of the less clued-up expats go
there too. However, the prices are absolutely eye-watering, and a steady
stream of stories suggesting that the staff might not always know what
they're doing, and that business interest rule over those of care,
emerge on the internet. And they send any really serious cases to the
big government hospital at Sanglah anyway.
My recomendation would be to seek out one of the private
hospitals in Denpasar not+ targetted at foreigners. Sadly all
of these places in Bali also have triple pricing - one price for locals,
one price (usually double) for resident foreigners, and another price
for tourists (usually double again). But you'll still pay less than at
BIMC, and will certainly not recieve any +lower standard of care.
I went to Surya Husada in Denpasar with a chest infection once and was
quite happy with the treatment (though not with the price - there's none
of this multi-tier pricing when I go to the doctor in Java)....
DC response modified and updated:
We're pretty well connected. Have written about Aussie Kim who's
Katrinka's doc (nurse practitioner). Katrinka paid Kim about twelve
dollars for a visit to get her blood pressure med which is just six
bucks a month. We went to the clinic around the corner (and this is
Sanur) for a weird
infection we both had last February and that was about sixteen bucks each
which included the medicine. Kat took a friend to the ritzy Kuta SOS
(specializing in foreigners) and they spent hours carefully picking the
gravel out of her face after a bicycle accident and she got stitches on
her face which has healed well. Excellent English speaking Korean women
doctors. That was expensive for here - three million - about 250 bucks.
An Aussie acupuncturist tennis buddy has suggested a particular hospital
or clinic for locals to me which he says is good and will be a lot
cheaper than SOS or BIMC. We've got insurance but nothing yet that big.
I'm thinking of going to that clinic. Driver Nyoman knows it. We just took worm medicine (about a dollar each).
We read, mainly Kat, about all sorts of scams and people to watch
out for but so far no problem and not hearing bad stories about medical
Post note: I ended up getting acupuncture and Chinese herbal pills
from Aussie buddy plus two visits. He was very helpful but I won't
repeat because it's too expensive - but still about half of what it
would be back home.
Katrinka read that at BIMC, 60 to 70% of their business is from
people falling in holes in sidewalks and tripping on uneven pavement and
so forth. It's one big mindfulness lesson to walk around here.