Sunday, December 19, 2010

Why is it every time I go to a clinic in Oman I get a shot/injection?!

K, so I had a bad bout of food poisoning this weekend. Cheap Pakistani coffee shop chicken for half a rial, yummy!

Or so I thought. But this post is not to point out which restaurant it was, since I am sure that the majority of my readers don't eat at that place anyway.

This post is my advice about going to clinics in Oman for health services.

Back in my home country, where Oman tends to send all of its doctors for training, we don't do shots/injections alot. There is the occasional blood test. There is the injection of anti-virus for a rather serrious virus (which personally, I have never seen back in the West but we are wanred it may happen one day), and they are what are called booster shots for young children (polio vaccine ect), and the flu shot for eldery folks.

We DO NOT get a shot everytime we visit the doctor. We certainly do not get a shot for the common cold which is caused by an numerous cold viruses, for which, no anti-virus has been developed that negates the effects of all colds. So no Western doctor will give a healthy adult (or even child) a shot for a cold.

But Omani clinics do. And first they give you a blood test if you are married to see if you are pregnant to see if it is safe to administer said useless injection. So you pay for the blood and urine test, and you pay for the injection. When there really is no cure for the common cold that needs a doctor other than maybe for a sick leave note. Which they won't write for you unless you buy their useless injection.

To those who are taken in by stupid clinics: The cure for the common cold (not a lung infection like strepthroat which requires anti-biotics) is to drink lots of warm liquids and avoid ac. Chicken soup, ginger and honey tea, fresh fruits and vegetables. Strepsols (lonzenges to numb a sore throat) and anything to stop a nose drip, from a pharmacy, these are what you need. Tylenol or panadol to treat and not very high fever.

For my food poisoning the clinic I went to out and out admitted there was nothing they could do to treat food poisoning. So they told me to go to the government hospitol, since the treatment for food poisoning is to remove stomach contents and to make sure liquids are fed into the body via IV to prevent dehydration. They charged me two rials to tell me this, but did nothing for me.

The government hospitol told me I needed a referral from the clinic first and would have to pay 20 rials which would not be covered under my insurance. Well, since I was poisoned, I thought no biggie, I can splurge on this one.

I went back to the clinic but it was closed for the afternoon so I just went home and back to bed. Driving around was something I was too weak to do. And the smell off coffee shop food near the clinic made me wish I was dead.

So I went home and I slept. I drank luke warm water and had some honey tea and some salted sliced cucumber. I know how to treat dehyrdation.

In the evening I returned the clinic. It had been 11 hours since I had first felt the effects of the poisoning so it had mainly past my system, and I was treating the effects of dehydration well enough, though I asked for a prescription for something to settle the wooziness in my stomach, and additional fluids for dehydration that are available from a pharmacy. Remember, this clinic had taken my two rials and told me to come back.

I was unwilling to get a referral to have my stomach pumped by the Government hospital at the point when I knew I would be paying the government hospital 20 rials to write me a sick leave for the day, since none of the DOCTORS THERE would be stupid enough to commit to useless treatment, but the private clinic (which shall remain nameless) did not seem to have that same problem.

I asked for the prescription and a sick leave. The doctor refused. She wanted to have me do a blood test and give me an injection. The blood test was to see if I was pregnant. The injection was not for anything. The doctor had ALREADY admitted there was nothing they could do unless they knew exactly was bacteria caused by poisoning and they didn't have injections for it. So I was supposed to pay for a useless injection and thus unwarranted blood test or she'd withhold my sick leave.

Screw it, I said. I don't need a sick leave.

I probably do, but I work with doctors of a higher caliber than that little clinic (who they themselves advised me never to get an injection) so I figure they'll just believe when I tell them my reason for missing work on Saturday.

****I asked a doctor I work with today about why all the clinics in Oman seem to want to prick me full of needles. He said "Never get an injection. It is just a way for the clinic to make more money. Take the tablet. The injection costs 200 baizas but they charge you 3-15 for it. The tablet from the pharmacy just costs 500 baizas."

The doctor at the clinic tried to give me this speal about how they are into people and don't care about cost when the truth was, she had already admitted there was nothing she could do to treat me, and the injection was useless.

I guess some people in Oman don't feel they got the right treatment from a doctor unless they got a good blood test and an arm pricked full of needles, but I know better than that, alas.

Most ailments aren't cured by injection.

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