I'm a 20 year veteran of Type I diabetes (completely insulin dependent since day 1), so I'm in need of a specialist everywhere I live. I use an insulin pump to manage my disease so before me and hubby decide to move to a new country, I always check to make sure that I'll be able to receive my supplies needed to maintain my quality of life.
When we moved to Jakarta, I was pleased to tour Pondok Indah hospital and see for myself that there would be an acceptable hospital where I could receive quality medical treatment, that is until I signed up as a patient.
First of all, they charge just to register. This takes all of 5 minutes (not including the wait time, mind you), and you receive your plastic patient card and then you receive a bill for the "processing". Ridiculous. I called the internist clinic and explaiined my situation and stated that I needed a doctor who specializes in diabetes (endocrinologist), I was given 2 choices, naturally I chose the doctor whose name I could easily pronounce and made my appointment. That day came and when I showed up, they told me I was patient 17 and the doctor was currently seeing patient 7. Being the expat that I am, I fussed and said I didn't have all day to waste, sampling the food in the cantina and that they should have called to inform me of the delay, somehow a patient magically cancelled but I still had to wait almost 2 hours before seeing the doctor. Going into his office, he never shook my hand, never even said hello; he motioned for me to sit down and said bluntly "What's your problem?" I started to give him my medical background and as soon as I said the words: insulin pump, he stopped me and said "I can't help you, you need to see someone else". I had to ASK him to tell me who that person was, he wasn't offering up the information and then I proceeded to spend another 1/2 hour trying to get an appointment with that doctor. Frustration level on a scale of 1-10, 10 being really irritated, at this point: 6.
Before my next adventure, I got a call from a nurse saying that the doctor would be delayed the day of my appointment and could I come in 2 hours later (I was happy, they took my advice and at least called to tell me this before I headed over there). So I show up at 2 pm instead of 11:30 am and when I check in they tell me I'm patient 19 and the doctor is on patient 4 so I might have to wait 2 hours. I flipped!! Calmed down, explained to them that I was told to come at 2 because the doctor was delayed and somehow another patient magically cancelled again but I still had to wait an hour. Fine. This doctor had actually heard of an insulin pump and he prescribed me medications. I thought it weird that he did not order any blood work but I was just trying to go home at this point. I leave, happy, because I have my prescription in hand. Frustration level: 4.
The time comes when I need to get the prescription filled. I head to the hospital, go to the pharmacy, hand it in and wait for my name to be called. 30 minutes later, it's my turn. I go to the counter and they tell me that they don't have ANY of the medicines listed on my prescription and I should go to another apotik. I look over the slip of paper and to my astonishment I notice that the doctor never prescribed any insulin! NO insulin for a diabetic?? Frustration level: 7. I head to the internist clinic, explain the situation and wait. They try to reach the doctor, he says that he has never heard of my insulin before! Ok, so instead of telling me that so we could work on a solution, you prescribe me nothing instead??? Seriously! This is my life we're talking about here. Frustration level: 8. Somehow a very nice nurse came up with the name of a sales rep for the company that distributes the insullin in Indonesia so on another day I arrange to meet this fellow at the hospital where literally it was like a drug deal taking place. He looked around for a private place to pass me my drugs and I could pass him his envelope full of cash. Very cloak and dagger like scenario. I am told that if we are seen we could get into trouble because the pharmacy does not stock this medicine. It's insulin for Christ sake!! By this time I am convinced that I shall never return to this hospital again because my Frustration level has hit a big ole fat 10!
Off I go to see if I could find my other medicines, again I am stumped as to why the doctor would prescribe something that the hospital does not carry and just thinking about it makes me grind my teeth. Fatmawati hospital has some of the medicine listed (I take 4 different pills a day) but not all of it. I don't want to divide my prescription so I head over to SOS. At their pharmacy, they tell me that they don't have the pills either BUT...they can order them! Hooray! The first place that has offered to at least try to help me, BUT...they can't accept the prescription from Pondok Indah hospital, only from one of their doctors. What?! Where I come from, any prescription written by any doctor no matter where they work is accepted at any pharmacy. Frustration level: 7.
I've already decided that my days at Pondok Indah are done so I make an appointment with a specialist at SOS, surprisingly for the very next day. I had no wait time, the doctor asked me all of the right questions, ordered the right blood tests (even walked me to the lab), offered to email me the results, ordered my medicines and even asked if I could come in and show a new patient from Italy how the pump works. The only way I can say I would go back to Pondok Indah hospital is if I was unconscious and had no choice in the matter.
I know everyone has different experiences but I feel it should be universal that all of those in the medical profession need to be patient advocates, including those in government offices who make regulation for this field. The cost of my pump supplies is 25% more expensive than it was in Malaysia because they are imported. I think medical equipment should face some exemption from these fees, it's no wonder why there aren't more pump users here, it can be impossible to afford. And Pondok Indah hospital is probably a good choice for others but I don't think they take my health seriously enough.
Thanks for letting me vent. I feel better already. Frustration level: 0.