I am not talking about choosing what food to order in.
For anyone reading this who happens to be trying to decide where in Bangkok to have their delivery, if you speak and understand Thai, Chulalongkorn hospital looks to be absolutely fine. Better than fine. Not like a hotel, but good.
We went into the hospital unsure whether we’d be able to go in and see the wards. We had been warned by our doc that they might be too busy to show us. Unlike the international hospitals pitching their luxury English-speaking packages to you, they aren’t really selling you anything. You just pay for the medical procedure and not a hotel-like service.
Don’t get me wrong, if we were in a (very) different income bracket, hadn’t already shelled out for IVF, Or weren’t having twins, we might go for a luxury hospital, especially as there are some elements of the international service that I really want. E.g. I want some kind of antenatal class: the thai hospitals don’t run them as far as we know- and certainly not in English. Secondly, I am hoping for breast pump rental- on doing my research it seems to be worth getting a really effective double one if you are planning to exclusively breastfeed twins. Fortunately it seems that with a bit of digging you can organise these things independently of using a fancy-schmancy hospital – for example, the antenatal classes at BNH hospital are not part of the ‘package’ – you can join them wherever you are delivering (and you pay the same either way).
The oddity with the international hospitals we have asked (St Louis, Samitivej, Bangkok Christian) is that they appear not to cater for twin delivery (*thinks* Errrr, say what?!). This is a serious setback, obviously. When you ask – and I mean in the hospital, in the gyno department – they look at you as though you are asking how much it would cost if you wanted to deliver twin elephants. The staff don’t have an answer- only that twins are excluded from their packages. Shoulders are shrugged and apologetic looks are offered. When I asked one nurse who could tell me the answer, she effectively to told me that no one could, and that it couldn’t be done. I’m sure that isn’t true, but it’s very odd. As though if they keep quiet enough, twins (or at least their hospital’s oversight re. Twins) will in fact not exist.
The costs quoted to us today were 2800baht per night for a room – that’s 11200 baht for four nights (about £210).The C-section I will probably have to have is 7000baht (£140) and the drugs and other treatment can’t really be finalised until the actual outcome of the birth is determined. The final costs will depend on whether the babies need any special treatment on arrival – but if there are no complications, the cost would be B11200 + B7000= B18200 (less than £400). That’s not as cheap as the NHS in the UK (free)- but considerably cheaper than an international.
The only private hospital which has so far given us any straight answers about its ‘packages’ or provision for twin births is BNH (thank you!). But at B91000 without the extra costs of any potential complications (£1800 minimum), it just seems like extortion.
There is a language issue – I’m lucky that I can understand enough Thai to know most of what’s going on, and AW is on hand in case of any confusion with the nurses. Our Dr speaks good English and already knows us and what we want. However if your Thai is ropey or there isn’t a Thai partner to translate and read the signs around the hospital then it might make for a stressful experience. Chulalongkon obviously hasn’t spent money for some time on its colour scheme (the walls are painted grey and a little tatty), but there really isn’t any reason in our case that could justify our paying more than 4 times as much to have some chintz curtains and a peach coloured washroom.