Ko Samui has more than its share of good hospitals, including Thai International, Bangkok International and Samui International. Although all offer good service and medical standards, we’ve used Samui International several times, and they’ve been professional, efficient and well-priced. They’re located at the northern point of Chaweng beach road, close to the main tourist drag, and the building is bright green so easy to find.
If you need a hospital while on Samui, chances are it’ll be because of a scooter accident. During our recent visit (14 stitches required from walking through a glass door – safety glass is not the norm in Thailand), of the eight people waiting for treatment, six were needing dressings changed after scooter accidents. Samui hospitals are well-prepared for treating wounds caused by motorbike accidents. One is called the ‘Samui tattoo’ — the telltale burn mark caused by a scooter’s exhaust — and another is grazing from sliding along the road when coming off a scooter. When the hospital says you need to come back daily to have the dressing changed, they’re not saying so to make more money. In a tropical climate, wounds get easily infected.
Also waiting to be treated was a lady with severe sunburn. She could only have fallen asleep in the sun for her to be as burnt as she was, and her eyes were even swollen half shut. Tourists coming from cooler climates are often caught off guard by the sun. And don’t be fooled by cloud cover – you can burn just as easily. Remember to stay hydrated too.
Another common ailment that Samui hospitals are well-equipped to treat is dengue fever (Mr Travelfish is all too familiar with this one…) Some mosquitos carry this virus, and it’s most unpleasant. Symptoms are similar to the flu, but tenfold, with a high fever and aching muscles and joints being the most common. If you suffer such symptoms within a week after returning home from Thailand, let your doctor know where you’ve been. Prevention is your best bet, so use a good insect repellent.
Trauma aside, Samui International Hospital offers great health check-up programmes, so if you’ve been on the road travelling a while, you may want to get checked out while on the island – prices start at 1,200 baht for a basic, going up to 3,700 baht for the premium, with additional tests available a la carte.
It’s also well worth a visit to the hospital’s dentist (we’ve used him for our daughter’s dental work). An oral examination plus full mouth cleaning and two X-ray films is only 1,200 baht, considerably cheaper than what you would pay in the West.
The hospital also provides a full range of services including general, surgical, internal, travel, paediatric, orthopedic, obstetric, gynaecology and of course an emergency room. The hospital has English-speaking doctors, and German and French-speaking staff too. Evacuations can be arranged to Samui from Ko Tao and Ko Pha Ngan, as well as from Samui to any specialist units in Bangkok, for instance. Commercial and chartered flights as well as air ambulances are used. The hospital also provides all paperwork required for your travel and medical insurance. Oddly enough, the convalescence rooms have use of a large swimming pool, and going through to this part of the hospital, you’d think you were in one of Chaweng’s resorts.
We hope you don’t need to visit a hospital while on Samui, but if you do, at least you know where to go.
By Rosanne Turner
Last updated on 18th January, 2013.