Samui Wining & Dining
Well, Well, Well

Bangkok Hospital Samui provides both the best emergency facilities
and preventative care programmes on the island.


28Accidents do happen. And unfortunately they can occur when you’re far from home and in unfamiliar surroundings. But should something untoward happen to you on Samui then you can be assured that you will be in very good hands.


This tiny island has five hospitals and Bangkok Hospital Samui, on the ring-road in Chaweng, is considered by most to be the very best. This May, they celebrate their seventh anniversary and their dedicated team has saved the lives of countless locals and holidaymakers over the years. Sometimes they have to react to emergencies but their aim is preventative care. Which is just one of their specialities.


It’s an international private hospital and is one of 19 in the Bangkok Hospital Group, the largest and most advanced hospital group in South-east Asia. With 50 beds, it’s the only ISO certified hospital on the island. And this year they will gain international accreditation with the Joint Commission International. Their standards and evaluation methods stand alone in the world as unique tools to provide quantifiable benchmarks for patient care and to drive positive changes centred on patients.


Bangkok Hospital Samui has 36 doctors that provide a wide range of medical services. As well as emergency and trauma care they have on-site clinics and centres for the following: anesthesia and pain control; brain and neurosurgery; cardiology; ear, nose and throat; internal medicine; nephrology and hemodialysis (kidney function); obstetrics and gynecology; ophthalmology (eyes); orthopedics; pediatrics; radiology; general surgery; plastic and reconstructive surgery; psychiatry; rehabilitation; urology; dentistry; and diving accidents. They also have six fully-equipped ICU (intensive care unit) beds, two ultra-modern operating rooms, a CT 64 slice scan, an on-site pharmacy and laboratory with blood bank, a physiotherapy unit and an out-patient department.


There’s a team of around 200 staff in total at the hospital including doctors, nurses, medical technicians, paramedics and support workers. And that means a very high level of patient care. About 50% of their patients are tourists; many of whom have had motorbike accidents. In Thailand, the emergency number is 1669 for medical assistance which everyone knows, much like you would know 999 in the UK or 911 in the US. Should you need an ambulance it will take you to the nearest hospital though you can transfer later to another one if you wish or if you need specialised treatment.


It’s a private hospital but almost every visitor will have travel insurance, though in the first instance that really doesn’t matter. Dr. Sareesuang Suwannaboon is the Assistant Hospital Director, “Save the patient, that’s it. We’re medical professionals, we’re trained and ethically and morally bound to save life and limb. When a patient arrives at our door in need of immediate help that’s exactly what we give and think of nothing else. At some point later on we can establish the patient’s method of payment (most commonly from insurance coverage and we have a department that manages that) but, quite simply, this is a hospital first and foremost.”


For very serious ailments, they have a well-trained Medivac team who closely co-ordinate with the Bangkok Hospital in the capital should someone need expatriation. And they also do in-bound medical evacuations from the neighbouring islands of Koh Pha-Ngan and Koh Tao. Both places have Bangkok Hospital outreach clinics. And the latter is a very popular destination for divers and, on occasion, there can be mishaps and even decompression sickness; a life-threatening condition if untreated. At the hospital they have a hyperbaric chamber and physicians and nurses who are trained to deal with such consequences. Thankfully, it’s something that doesn’t occur very often but the specialized equipment and the team are there when needed.


It’s not all doom and gloom, however, and an increasing number of tourists and local residents are taking advantage of their preventative medical care programmes and medical tourism packages, as Dr. Suwannaboon explains. “Since the roads on Samui have been improved we have seen a reduction in the number of road traffic accidents, which is wonderful. We probably have more patients now with heart problems. Our specialists consult and treat local people and expats, and even tourists who book in advance and make it a part of their vacation. Some have pre-existing serious conditions and others want to make sure they aren’t at risk or, if they are, want to know how best to tackle the issue before it becomes a major problem. I really can’t stress the importance of regular health check-ups, it will save you a great deal of money in the long run and you’ll most likely live longer, too.”


There’s a number of different packages and check-ups and they offer discounts of up to 65% when booked in advance. And for about the same price as a hotel room in Chaweng for the night you could have the best, and most important, holiday of your life. Should you have to spend a night or two in the hospital then you’ll probably find that the facilities and services are better than your resort. The rooms are large, private, air-conditioned, have a television, hot water, drinking water, mini-bar, a safe, a well-appointed bathroom, you can have an extra bed if your partner or a friend wants to stay with you overnight and they have a maid service and laundry service. In addition, they also have a hotel and house team that can visit you wherever you are staying. A doctor, a nurse and an orderly can come to your hotel room if you are feeling unwell and if it’s serious they’ll immediately transfer you to the hospital.


Thailand is very well known for traditional Thai massage and at the hospital they incorporate the use of physiotherapy as soon as possible as part of every in-patient’s recovery both in medical and surgical cases. And for out-patients, physiotherapists are also available to alleviate pain or discomfort using their professional techniques under medical advice.


It’s highly unlikely that you’ll need emergency care when you are here. But perhaps an hour or two spent on a health check could be the best souvenir of Samui that you could return home with.


Johnny Paterson


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