Outpatient visit in Vietnam

By Amy Romano
This item appears on page 33 of the November 2017 issue.

Thirteen days into our 15-day tour through Cambodia and Vietnam with Gate 1 Travel (Fort Washington, PA; 800/682-3333, www.gate1travel.com), March 5-19, 2017, my husband, Michael, experienced bladder retention due to an enlarged prostate that he’s had for 20 years but which had “acted up” only two or three times before. When it does occur, however, he knows he will need a catheter until swelling subsides.

So on the morning when our group was to tour the old part of Hanoi, Michael stayed at the hotel. We informed our wonderful tour director, Vu, of the situation, and he instructed the front-desk staff to arrange a taxi to the International SOS Clinic (www.internationalsos.com/locations#Vietnam), if needed.

A few hours into the tour, Vu told me that he had spoken to my husband by phone, after which Vu insisted he not wait any longer to go to the clinic. Vu called a taxi for me, and my husband and I arrived at the clinic at the same time. 

We were escorted to the exam room and saw a doctor, who decided to send us to Hôpital Français de Hanoi to see a urologist. There was no charge at SOS, and we were given paperwork pertaining to that visit to take to the next hospital. 

A nurse and an orderly were waiting for us when we arrived at the next hospital, where my husband was again examined and a catheter was inserted immediately.

When we were escorted to the main lobby, we were asked if we could pay for services. We were told it would cost $140, and we paid by credit card. We then were taken to a waiting taxi and returned to our hotel in time to freshen up and meet our group for dinner.

We had purchased travel insurance with Allianz Travel Insurance (Richmond, VA; 866/884-3556, www.allianztravelinsurance.com), so when we returned home two days later, we called Allianz to open a claim. No additional information was needed, and we received a check for $140 three weeks later. 

Considering we were in a country we were unfamiliar with, the hotel staff in Hanoi was more than we could have hoped for, and while this was not a life-threatening situation, the medical care Michael received at both hospitals was professional and efficient. Everyone we encountered spoke English.

If we had been home in New York, we probably would still be waiting in the emergency room!

Glen Cove, NY