Carl Huebner: German Hospitals

This week I had the unfortunate experience of being in a German Hospital. I had a 103° fever and was feeling very sick all day when I finally decided I had to be seen. I went to Knappschaft Krankenhaus Bochum where they took me in right away and things were looking hopeful. They nurse and doctor both spoke English well enough and get my started on some IV fluids and medicine. After taking blood tests they had suggested that I spend the night until my fever is gone.

At this point they took me up to the 11th floor in a room where they had fluids, antibiotics, and a fever reducer going in me all night. At this point they still had not asked me for any sort of payment options of insurance card, which I found very strange.

I woke up in the morning expecting things to go just as smoothly as they had the night before and hoped to be out of there soon, however this was far from the case. The first two nurses that walked in hardly spoke any English at all. It was very difficult to communicate with them to say the least; they just kept giving me more medicine and didn’t understand me when I asked what it was. I finally saw the doctor who’s English was a bit better, but still not great. She was able to give me a little better of an idea as to what is going on. They took more blood and said I can leave pending the results. This is when things began to go downhill

The doctor forgot my blood samples in my room did not even pick then up until very late in the day. In fact, I hardly saw anyone all day, I just sat in my room, uninformed and by myself. At several points I had asked for the doctor and the nurses either didn’t understand me or were not actually going to look for the doctor. By the time I finally saw the doctor again she said I would have to stay another night because my new blood tests did not come back late due to them finally taking it so late. I was very unhappy about this because next to nothing was done for me all day and it was completely pointless for me to still be there.

The next day went in a similar fashion of rarely seeing doctors or nurses. I had to constantly call them into my room and repeatedly ask for my doctor to actually have something done. I was finally released by 5pm on the 3rd day. The entire experience left a very bitter taste in my mouth about the German hospitals. I am sure the language barrier played a role which is my own fault, but they made almost zero effort for communication. The entire process seemed very unorganized and a lack of communication even between the doctors and nurses. No on really new what was going on when I asked them.

Moral of the story, do some research on doctors and hospitals in the area and find one that is known to be patient friendly and English speaking. I am sure there are better hospitals than the one I was at, but I sure hope I never have another experience like this one.

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