I have been staying with my mother in Thailand for a few years. My mom have a number of health ailments and we went to Mahachai Hospital (โรงพยาบาลมหาชัย), a private hospital located in Mahachai, Samut Sakhon for her follow up treatment. In the past few years, I have been very satisfied with their services hence I decided to write about my experience of taking my mom for treatment in the hospital.
Briefly, why we chose to seek treatment in a private hospital initially:
1. Lesser crowd, help with English speaking and much shorter wait time.
My mom have Alzheimer’s and in the beginning she was very impatient and would get agitated quickly in crowded places. It is easier to take her for treatment in a private hospital. Also, if you cannot speak Thai, they would always be able to find a staff who can speak English to assist and explain the procedures. It is different compared to government hospital as most of the front end staff and nurses generally do not speak English. If you visit a government hospital and cannot speak in Thai fluently, you really need to make sure there is a local Thai accompanying you or else you would have a lot of challenge navigating your way around.
But all doctors, regardless of private or government hospitals can converse in English because their medical syllabus are taught in English.
2. Good recommendation
Mahachai Hospital was recommended by my teacher as the hospital managed to save her mother’s life. Another friend of mine who had stomach sensitivity went for a thorough check and the specialists found polyps growing in her digestive lining and were able to cut out before they turned malignant.
3. Excellent and caring doctors/ specialists
I find that doctors in Thailand are caring and compassionate especially towards the elderly. My mom have acute hepatitis B a few years ago and was placed on Baraclude Entecavir when we were still in Malaysia. The Baraclude medicine costs 7500 baht for 30 tablets in Thailand, much more expensive compared to Malaysia. When the medication runs out, Dr Nopporn recommended a generic medication (made in Thailand) and it cost about 2000 plus baht for 21 days supply which was way cheaper than the original medication. And it is effective because after starting my mom on the medication, he monitor her liver function.
My mom also have high blood pressure and she saw Dr Kajorn who is the cardiologist in the hospital. Through monitoring, he managed to bring my mother’s blood pressure under control. As my mother’s Alzheimer’s moved into final stage, she developed dysphagia (not able to swallow well). She was still eating but in a reduced amount. When I noticed her blood pressure could not be read, I took her to the hospital again to see Dr Kajorn. He had blood work done and was the doctor who alerted me that my mother’s situation was critical and needed to be admitted to ICU.
We also saw Dr Tharinee, a neurologist who diagnosed my mother with mid stage Alzheimer’s in September 2020.
Through Mahachai’s YouTube page, I did manage to find videos of the specialists we have seen which I wish to share below. All the specialists below spoke English during our consultation:
Dr Nopporn Anukulkarnkusol (นพ. นพพร อนุกูลการกุศล) (gastroentrologist):
Dr Kajorn Khaopaisarn (นพ. ขจร ขาวไพศาล)(cardiologist):
Dr Thalinee Khattri (พญ. ธารินี คัทรี) (neurologist):
4. Cost still within affordable range
If you are a foreigner and is able to afford the price, then you may opt for private hospital for the lesser wait time and personalized care. We are not rich, just very modest average family but we could still afford the cost of treatment for my mom’s hepatitis B, high blood pressure and cholesterol inclusive cost of consultation, scans and medication.
But I have to be honest, hospitalization cost would always be high in a private hospital. My mom has been hospitalized twice in this hospital. They literally saved her life as both times, her situation was life threatening (first time, she developed serious internal inflammation after a cut she sustained from a fall which took 2 nights of hospitalization to cure. Second time was recently in ICU due to severe electrolyte imbalance due to end stage Alzheimer’s. Both times she did not have any distress symptoms but was identified by the doctors as critical). Hence the cost is very well worthwhile.
However, as my mom’s Alzheimer’s turned into late stage and she was not longer able to eat on her own, the cost of her treatment goes very high up. It is not only consultation, periodical scans and medication. She would need to be on a myriad of medication, tube feeding, special diet and other ongoing costs like diapers. We could no longer afford the cost of private treatment and have switched to a nearby government hospital.
It is with reluctance that we have to part way with the hospital whom the specialists had taken good care of my mom. Through the few years my mom sought treatment there, the hospital staff is familiar with my mom and her antics and quirks. They were caring and affectionate towards her.
You might say that, well isn’t all private hospitals are like that?
Through my experience with private hospitals back in Malaysia, sadly, nope. As it is well known, Thai people are very polite and they are very nice to elderly people. They know we are not rich, and they do not cross sell unnecessary services or scans for my mom. Because of the good healthcare my mom was getting, we continued to stay because as a daughter, I want the best for my mom.
Therefore if you are Central Thailand, eg Bangkok or surrounding areas and is would like a recommendation of a private hospital, I would definitely recommend Mahachai Hospital. Do note there are 3 Mahachai hospitals and the one we visited is at the address and contact details below:
927/43, Sethakij 1 Road,
Amphoe Muang, Samut Sakhon, 74000
Website url: https://www.mahachaihospital.com/home