A Visit to an Egyptian Hospital

I went to the hospital a few days ago to retrieve test results for my 6yr old.  She’d had a fever for about 11 days, which continued even after antibiotics were started.  Along with poor appetite, nausea, vomiting and sore throat.  Ordinarily (meaning in the states), we’d have taken her to see a doctor after the 3rd day of fever, but dh and I both feel some hesitancy after past experiences with Egyptian doctors.  The hospital was Cleopatra in Misr Jedida (Heliopolis).  It’s one of the more expensive hospitals, catering to wealthier Egyptians, as well as foreigners.  It looks somewhat similar to an American hospital and has an onsite lab.  An appointment will run you about 60-80 Egyptian LE ($10-$14), not including any lab tests or prescriptions.  A week prior I’d taken her to Markez Al-Tayseer, a clinic in Madina Al-Nasr (Nasr City) , which caters to poorer and middle class Egyptians.  The appointment was 10 LE (>$2). 

What was the difference?  Well, Markez Al-Tayser was clean, albeit small and cramped.  There is no onsite lab.  I was instructed to collect a stool sample (at home), take it to a lab to be analysed and bring back the results.  I didn’t have to wait long to see a doctor.  So why did I take her to Cleopatra and pay more?  Well you try getting a stool sample from a six-year-old who’s barely eaten the past few days.  First find some container to put it in, then take it to a lab, pick up the results and take it back to the doctor, with said sick child.  The American system of health care could use some improvement, but it is a remarkably easy system, comparatively speaking. 

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