This past week I was able to experience the Chinese health care system. My heel was so painful, I could barely walk. Chen Ying, our foreign affairs liaison, took me to the nearby People’s Hospital. (We walked.) The hospital was unusually busy that day, according to Chen Ying. First we stood in a long line to register. Fee: 3 yuan. Then to the orthopedic department, where the doctor ordered an x-ray. Stand in another line to pay for the x-ray. Fee: 80 yuan. Go to the x-ray department, a waiting room surrounded by 8 x-ray hatches. Steel doors open, patient enters, steel door closes. When my turn came, I was quickly pushed out of the way by an emergency patient on a gurney, bleeding from the ear. Bloody gauze trailed on the floor behind, and I noticed a man smoking in the corner of the waiting room. At this time, I was beginning to get unsettled. Finally, my x ray was taken and we waited 15 minutes for the results. Back to the doctor, where a bone spur was confirmed. Forget Hippa, the other patients in line were straining into the room to see my x-ray. The doctor wrote out a prescription for Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and back down to wait in another line to pay. Fee: 300 yuan. Wait for the prescription and then we were finished. Total time: 2 ½ hours, Total cost: 383 yuan, about $58.00. All services were pre-pay.
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