Thursday, April 17, 2014
HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TO A JAPANESE EMERGENCY ROOM?
It was in November of 2012 when I first visited a hospital emergency room. I then went two more times to Queen's ER, all three for non-lifethreatening ailments: thumb, fishbone in throat and hand.
Well, I did it again. I'll post on the best part of the day following this report, but when I returned to my hotel, the Westin Miyako, as I was entering the elevator, the door suddenly closed and abraded my hand. The wound was superficial, but there was a lot of blood.
Someone on the staff, a Mr. Hamamoto, treated me as best he could and sent me on to the Japanese Red Cross Kyoto Daini Hospital in a taxi. Got there at 6PM, and there were 25 people waiting. Turns out that every patient had some family or friend with him, so the line was not too long. Best as I could tell, I was the only one who showed some bleeding. However, I noticed that all the hospital staff wore masks, and nearly everyone else did so too. There must be some fear here in this country that whenever you enter a hospital, wear a mask.
After a 45 minute wait, I was called by a doctor, who did not speak much English and my Japanese was worse. For some reason, on a computer, he pretty much wanted my life story. This took at least half an hour. He then decided that the wound was too significant to just treat, so he sent me on for X-rays. Four were taken. If you're adding up the cost, you'll be surprised.
More waiting, for an X-ray doctor. Finally, now nearly two hours into my experience here, he said they would have to sew the skin back. By now there were four doctors looking at the abrasion, and you can add up more charges...but one of them decided, nah, let's just place the skin back on the flesh and cover with a gauze bandage. One of the doctors then said I needed to have this changed tomorrow in a hospital. But I was leaving for Nagasaki, so they arranged for one in that city. I then thought, heck, I'm going back to the Tokyo Westin, skip Nagasaki and Osaka, and contend with a hospital in Tokyo.
I waited another half an hour for the bill to be tallied, and to my surprise, if not shock, the whole tab was $125. So with the $27 taxi fares, I just turned in this $142 charge to the Westin Tokyo and Mr. Hamamoto immediately reimbursed this amount.
In the meantime, the concierge cancelled my hotels in Nagasaki and Osaka, and, after several calls, finally got me back into the Tokyo Westin beginning tomorrow. There are no rooms available at the hotel on Saturday nights because of weddings. But since the hotel was responsible for this injury, I guess they felt they had to do something for me.
I was able to somehow take a bath and ordered a curry rice with salad and Kirin beer for my room:
What a day.