An Emergency Visit to Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi

October 11, 2015

My husband had been complaining of feeling bloated or feeling 'gas' in his tummy for several weeks already.  I was worried so I told him to see a gastroenterologist because we knew he had a history of gallstones.  (It was diagnosed three years ago, but according to his doctor, the stone is too big to get dislodged and cause blockage, so surgery isn't necessary.)  However, Ronnie isn't the type of person who likes consulting medical professionals for his health concerns, so instead of going to the hospital to have his tummy checked, he just stayed home and waited for the bloating to subside, which eventually did without any medication. 

And just when we thought everything was fine, my husband suddenly felt a really bad case of stomach pain at around 10pm last Tuesday night.  He characterized it as something similar to 'cramps' localized in the epigastric area (or the upper central area of the abdomen, right below the ribs), which caused him trouble breathing.  Based on the way he looked, I would suppose he rated 9 out of 10 on the pain scale.  So we rushed to the emergency department of the nearest hospital, which happened to be Cleveland Clinic.  It's a good thing that they had already started operating (they opened a few months ago -- May 2015 to be exact as per Wikipedia), we were able to save a lot of travel time going to a hospital since they're just a block away from our place.  

Upon arriving at the hospital's emergency department, which by the way looked more like a hotel lobby, we were required by the front desk officer to present my husband's health card and emirates ID while another staff wearing a white scrub suit (I'm not sure if he's a nurse or not) asked my husband several questions regarding his reason for coming to the hospital.  Afterwards we were advised to sit by the lounge area and wait for another personnel who would transport him in the emergency room.

While waiting, my husband whispered "Parang nawawala na yung sakit.. Uwi na tayo."  To which I replied, "Andito na tayo, ipa-check na natin yan sa doktor."  So even if he was feeling a little better already, we decided to stay in the hospital and have him checked just to be sure everything's okay. 

A few minutes later, Ronnie was asked to sign a consent form, then he was transported inside the emergency room via wheelchair.  As I walked through the hallway to accompany my husband, I realized that this hospital's ER department is really huge!  I'm a nurse by profession, so I've been to pretty much a lot of emergency section of different hospitals (both here and in the Philippines), but I must say that Cleveland Clinic has the biggest ER I've seen so far.

I did say a room was assigned to us right?  Yes, you read it right.  Every patient in the emergency department is provided with their own room (which has an opaque glass sliding door for privacy).  There, Ronnie was asked to lie down the bed while his nurse, Chin, asked several assessment questions and took his vital signs.  A few minutes later, Dra. Nada came to check him and ordered to do a 12 Lead ECG and run some labs.

The room provided to us in the emergency department has its own sink where my husband's doctor washed her hands before and after patient contact.  In addition, they also have a hand sanitizer by the door which was used by the nurse before entering Ronnie's room.  Good job to all their health care providers who strictly follow the hospital's infection control protocol!

Each room has its own computer where the nurse encodes all data collected during assessment.

The hospital bed is equipped with a built in scale, so in the event that the patient isn't aware of his actual weight or he/she is just too weak to stand on a weighing scale, the nurse can just press a button at the foot of the bed to get the information she needs.  

Ronnie undergoing a 12 Lead electrocardiogram (ECG)... Thank God the results were normal!

While waiting for my husband's test results, two more hospital staffs came into our room -- a health insurance coordinator and a 'kabayan' from the registration/ admission department.  The health insurance coordinator informed us that Cleveland Clinic has not yet come into an agreement with our health insurance company regarding its policy, so we had to pay cash first then claim the reimbursement of our expenses later on.  On the other hand, the staff from the registration/ admission department came in with his own desktop on a portable computer table to complete my husband's registration details.  He's also the same person who took our payment for the hospital bill.  

Don't you just love the service they provide here?  Because if you were to ask me, I would say I'm in love with the kind of service this hospital provided us!  I just literally stayed beside my husband the entire time he was in the ER.  All the issues -- the completion of the registration process, the problem with our health card, and even the payment of our hospital bill -- were addressed properly without me having to leave Ronnie unaccompanied.  There's no need to go to the billing section, cashier, admission office, etc. because literally speaking, sila ang lalapit sayo.  

Anyway, since our health card was declined (meaning we had to pay cash) and Ronnie's ECG result turned out to be normal and he's no longer in pain as well, we decided to just cancel the labs and have it done in a different hospital the following day once he comes for a follow up in the gastro and surgery department.  That way, we were able to bring down the hospital bill from AED 1,300 (USD 353) to AED 580 (USD 158).  That's just for the ER evaluation and 12 lead ECG alone.  Yeah, I know.  Medical treatment here in Abu Dhabi is pretty expensive when you're a private patient.  Nevertheless, they're still worth every penny we paid for!

Before sending Ronnie home, the nurse gave him a thorough explanation of his discharge instruction which included his prescribed medications, referral to general surgery, a brief explanation of his initial diagnosis, and a list of signs and symptoms to watch out for.

On behalf of my husband, I would like to extend our heartfelt appreciation of the professionalism and world class service extended to us by Dra. Nada, Nurse Chin, and all the staff of Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi that were on duty last Tuesday night, October 6, 2015.  Thank you so much for taking care of my husband and for making things easier and more comfortable for both of us!  All of you are indeed a great asset to the company and I'm pretty sure they're very proud to have you in their team!  Good job to all of you and more power!

***An Update of Ronnie's follow-up consultation with Gastroenterology and General Surgery Department***

His liver enzymes, SGPT and SGOT, are both elevated.  Abdominal ultrasound revealed presence of gallstone and surgery or removal of his gall bladder is advised.  According to the surgeon, this type of surgery is not urgent, so Ronnie still have the time to think about it.  However, my husband decided not to have the surgery unless otherwise necessary.  

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