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How my trip changed in a blink of the eye

How my trip changed in a blink of the eye

Old Feb 12, 10, 5:45 am
  #16  
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It is never pleasant to hear about a fellow member of the online community being down with a serious medical condition and should be applauded for even taking the time to type out a detailed report. And to make it a bit funny too.

There was a question about prices of medical treatment in singapore. There is no doubt, it is expensive. At least when you compare it to other asian countries like bangkok and Malaysia or south america. You are essentially paying for the brand name.

I suspect the op must have done his/her homework before checking into Raffles hospital. I'm not sure about present time but it is the medical provider for singapore airlines at one time, to my understanding.

Its considered expensive for locals and those whose HMO/insurance doesn't have an agreement with.

Prices for common surgeries at public hospitals are listed online but not private hospitals like Mouth Elizabeth or Raffles Hospital. The former is known to have rich clientele and "businessmen" doctors that charge an arm and a leg.

Most people normally depend on their credit cards for travel insurance but if you are based on long term assignments and you need extra cover, there are lots from Bupa,Blue cross etc...
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Old Feb 12, 10, 6:14 am
  #17  
 
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Bummer of a story. I hope you are feeling better.
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Old Feb 12, 10, 6:18 am
  #18  
 
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Thumbs up I use IHI

Many years ago I had a burst appendix in Yemen, of all places. The Swissair (SR not LX) representative in country arranged an evacuation via ATH to both ZRH and LHR, so my spouse could make the destination decision in ATH. I ended up in LHR with the best hotel, oops, hospital I had ever seen The Wellington, which had concierge service and a mini-suite so my wife could stay with me.

That made me very loyal to SR and determined to always have good international health/evacuation insurance. I have not had a claim on IHI but I have had occasion to seek their advice, which is excellent, and a close friend was evacuated from the Sudan by them with superb service. I cannot recommend them highly enough.


http://www.ihi.com/
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Old Feb 12, 10, 6:43 am
  #19  
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geesh, sid, thanks for the detailed 'trip' report. hope you're feeling better and glad you're home!
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Old Feb 12, 10, 6:55 am
  #20  
 
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No time to read all the comments, so this might be a duplicate.

I pay the rather exorbitant fee for an AMEX Platinum card. (I usually don't pay for colored plastic). Two essential features (plus one nice-to-have)

Essential: Worldwide access to a medical emergency number. I've used it twice, once in LA and once in Krakow. I talked to a paramedic both times, tho the second time he put me on hold and relayed info to a specialist. First one (LA) ordered a prescription from a nearby pharmacy. Second got me to hospital with English-speaking staff where they were able to take care of me (steroid shot for tendinitis in my foot, painful but not life threatening).

Essential #2. No credit limit. That SIN problem would have gone onto the card and we could have sorted it out at home. Imagine if access had been denied for a few days. The result would have been permanent vision impairment, all because of a paperwork problem. Not acceptable.

Nice to have: Access to CO/DL/AA clubs as part of membership.

Worth $350 or so, just for peace of mind (for both me and my wife.)
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Old Feb 12, 10, 9:51 am
  #21  
 
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Originally Posted by techauthor View Post
Essential #2. No credit limit.
FYI - no preset credit limit cards do have spending limits. The spending limit changes from day to day, month to month, based on your credit profile and how much Amex likes/believes in your ability to pay.

In my case, my spending limits have fluctuated between 1X and 3X my revolving line limit.

Last edited by wanaflyforless; Feb 12, 10 at 10:09 am
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Old Feb 12, 10, 2:01 pm
  #22  
 
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Originally Posted by headinclouds View Post
The ophthalmologist diagnosed me with a detached retina and wanted to operate that night. Returning to the US was not an option since repair has to be done with 24 hours of detachment without a loss of vision. Within 12 hours of the first symptoms of vision problems, I was being wheeled into the operating room at 11 PM for a successful surgery to repair my detached retina.
You were very lucky that you were still able to fly after treatment. I had a detached retina in one eye several years ago and the other retina has experienced a number of tears. In the first instance, a variety of techniques were used to seal the retina back against the wall of the eye, including laser treatment, a scleral buckle, a vitrectomy and pneumatic retinopexy.

The latter technique involves the injection of an inert gas into the vitreous, which pushes the retina against the back of the eye and helps it heal. After this type of treatment, one needs to lie face down for an extended period, often up to two weeks or until the gas has dissipated on its own. This would have deleteriously impacted your ability to fly. According to Boyles law, the volume of a gas expands appreciably as the altitude increases (and pressure decreases), which could have left you grounded for quite some time.

By the way, all types of gases respond to pressure in this manner. In fact, some have hypothesized that this is the reason that many travelers often experience increased flatulence with increased altitude.
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Old Feb 13, 10, 11:54 am
  #23  
 
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Would the Amex Platinum card have been of any help in this? They promise evacuation for medical, but I know time was of the essence. Were there any restrictions on flying after the surgery? Glad to know that you are doing ok.

JudyJFLA
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Old Feb 13, 10, 10:29 pm
  #24  
 
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Originally Posted by JudyJFLA View Post
Would the Amex Platinum card have been of any help in this? They promise evacuation for medical, but I know time was of the essence. Were there any restrictions on flying after the surgery? Glad to know that you are doing ok.

JudyJFLA
I don't think they cover evacuation any longer (at least the US Plat card).

Greg
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Old Feb 14, 10, 1:22 am
  #25  
 
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Originally Posted by restlessinRNO View Post
headinclouds - Thank you for your "trip report". I'm glad to hear you had 3 types of tea to chose from on the menu. Is it just me, or do others think $17K SGD is a lot to pay for retinal detachment surgery in Singapore?
I thought it was extremely expensive too!
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Old Feb 14, 10, 7:36 am
  #26  
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wow thanks for the trip report...
Raffles Hospital is generally viewed as one of the best hospitals in Southeast Asia, if not the world. However, being adamant on payment before admission is, in my opinion, a big ole negative. Retinal detachment, while not life threatening, is an emergency because of the risk of vision loss. Delaying surgery for a couple hours is ok, but the situation needs to be addressed. I wonder what the laws of Singapore would require Raffles to do if you had been unable to come up with the payment. In the USA, EMTLA requires stabilizing of the medical condition....

FDW
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Old Feb 14, 10, 9:36 pm
  #27  
 
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Glad to hear that you are okay. That was quick recognition of you and a good idea to stay and go to surgery.

Howd the rest of the trip go after the surgery?
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Old Feb 14, 10, 11:40 pm
  #28  
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Wow! Quite a story. I'm glad you were able to get the surgery quickly and hope all works out well with the insurance. Cleverly written intro, btw.
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Old Feb 16, 10, 1:50 pm
  #29  
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Geesh, Not only have I endured a once in a century blizzard, but the rebooked flight to visit my brother in Ohio has me stranded during their current snow storm. 2 flight cancellations with Southwest in 1 week tests one’s patience since Southwest waits until the very last minute to cancel. I hate winter.

Regarding a couple of items mention in prior posts, I wish to expand and extend my remarks (as they say in the Capitol).

Not having special travel medical insurance was an oversight since I normally purchase it. I determined that the circumstances of this trip did not warrant a priority. I was staying the entire time in Singapore and my current health insurance had international coverage. Any problems could be easily coordinated with the blue world wide insurance office considering there was a specific note on my insurance card titled ‘overseas medical assistance’. That was a bad assumption. Even though the office is staffed 24/7, they cannot always act that quickly while I assume that the specialized insurance carriers can act quickly.

I agree that the costs appear to be nearly as expensive as the US even though the doctor in Singapore kept telling me that it would be more in the US compared to Singapore. Depends upon the contracted rate for the preferred providers in my network whether that is correct. I did have an extra day in the hospital and there is the 7% GST which is added to the bill. Not to mention the 3% credit forex rate. I’ll be happy if the amount billed is covered less co-pays and deductibles.

My treatment options were limited to one due to the circumstances. One option precludes flying for 2 months though there is only 1 procedure. I need a follow up procedure in about 2 months’ time. At least I’m only using 2 eye drop medications 2 times per day compared to the 4 different drops 4 times a day.

Lastly, I wrote this report to educate the many travelers on this site of the risks that may befall one while roaming the globe. I need to follow my own advice.
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Old Feb 16, 10, 4:02 pm
  #30  
 
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Wow. A detached retina is the scariest condition I could think of, emergency operation or you're blind on that eye :O Extremely glad you could get everything financed in time and hope the eye won't give you any more problems of this magnitude in the future!
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