Sunday, November 21, 2010
Well that was a nice break - I hope you all enjoyed your Eid vacations.

This is a blog post that I've been trying to write on and off for quite some time. I've come to the conclusion that I cant prove anything as I'm obviously not a doctor, and can't get one to go on record (I haven't even tried) about anything that happens here in Oman at these health care facilities.

I was first approached by a reader half a year ago, and told to look into private hospitals that have been opening up around town (and even further afield these days). Over the months I've come across various stories that have left me shaking my head, and with a sole determination that should I or anyone close to me have an urgent need for medical healthcare here in Oman, we're going to a Government hospital.

Here are just two stories:

1. A married couple drove to the recently opened (well, late 2009) Al Raffah hospital in Ghubra late at night. The hospital boasts a 24hour ER facility (source - read the 5th sentence in the 3rd paragraph) and so they went there as it was the closest ER to them. Upon arriving at the ER, they were promptly told to go to the Royal hospital as they could not treat the man there. By the time this couple had gotten to the Royal, the husband had died of a heart attack and was DOA. Over the months I've heard similar stories of people being turned away by the "emergency room" at Raffah. Why are they allowed to continue to operate an Emergency Room?

2. Muscat Private Hospital and pregnancies. I am not joking about this - I have heard numerous alarming stories about problems that seem to occur with births at the MPH. On the one side, I'm no Doctor and a lot of these stories could be based on over-worrying parents who are not getting the information/confidence/communication they need when dealing with their new born children and the occasional issues babies have. However, it seems to me that the stories of problems are growing at MPH. I'm aware of 3 separate births in the last 2 months alone where there have been significant questions raised over the practices at MPH. I just feel that this is worth airing in public - where there's smoke, sometimes there's fire.

Now, I've no way to prove any of this, and so I've decided to let this story out and ask you all what your experiences have been with these "private hospitals". It appears that the Ministry of Health appears to grant licenses to these private institutions, but any sort of review or regulatory inspection seems to be a bit difficult to tie down. I'm left asking the question: Who's checking on these "hospitals" to make sure they are up to scratch? Who's regulating them? Self regulation is just something I don't think can happen when you're talking about people's lives.

So anyway - over to you, please share your experiences!

le fin


Becky said...

Oooooh controversial post !!! I have to say I have had nothing but positive experiences at Muscat Private Hospital. I had my second baby there, by emergency cesarean (he was undiagnosed footling breech - only undiagnosed because I wouldn't let them scan me !) and the care I received was excellent - better than the care I received from my NHS hospital in the UK when I had my first child.

If you have a practitioner that you are comfortable with it makes all the difference. I have gradually over the years put together a "team" of people that I feel comfortable going to, people that I trust. The difficulty is emergency care. I don't believe that it is up to scratch at all in Muscat. I would be very worried if I or any of my family needed urgent care and I didn't know the Dr who was dealing with us.

I have had a couple of suspect people at MPH dealing with the children - but now Dr Hans is back - all is well !!!!

So, I think you are right that regulation can only be a positive thing, but please don't frighten people off having babies at MPH, the alternative is going back to your home country to have your baby which is a major upheaval, and means you are having to manage the first few months of your baby's life without the support of your husband, not the best thing for any new parents. My advice would be, find Dr's that you trust and stick with them.

Becky xxx

Delirious in the Desert said...

I think this is a tough one - as a health care provider, you are damned if you do & damned if you don't. We all know that service here in Oman is slack and average at best and of course the horror stories are sensationalized whereas the good stories go unnoticed or aren't repeated.

Personally, my family & I have never had anything but good experiences at Muscat Private. From knee surgeries, outpatient treatment, gynocological check-ups and general GP visits etc. That isn't to say they are perfect, I'm sure far from it.

Additionally, I know a bunch of women who have had their children born there (often >1) and fortunately with no issues. More recently, one child had some health complications at birth and was recently diagnosed with a disability, but from what I hear that treatment & care was great.

Just my 2c and FYI - I am not affiliated with Muscat Private or any other hospital. I'm just a patient who to date, has had good experiences. there. Touch wood.

Omani Princess (not Omani LOL) said...

Since recently I have had alot of experience in researching healthcare in Oman (kind of my profession) I would say that no hospitals in Oman excepting Sultan Qaboos University Hospital meet the standardized hospital regulations for Canadian Medical Care which Oman goes alot on. But Muscat Private Hospital is not bad, and I use Badr Sanaa [Al Kuwair] personally for non emergancy advice and check ups (wait times can be attrotious though). As for cardiac, and this is personal for me, and one I am working very hard on, due to losing a family member in Oman due to bad doctors, any cardiac is best handled at the Royal Hospital. Which is currently working to establish the latest technologies in its cardiac wing. Also SQU for medical advice. Raffah is better for specialized booked treatments. I will try to write a good post to answer some of these issues for you Sythe. If you want to interview any MDs I can try to arrange it. Also, you can check the MOH (Ministry of Healths) 2009 report to find which hospitals really specialize in what. So if you are looking for private maternity, you can find the best overall rated maternity clinic in your area, ect...

ynotoman said...

Not the magnitude of the articles stories , but I was present during a two person inspection of a private health care provider , made during working hours , unannounced and with my (as a patients) permission.

Anonymous said...

The emaergency treatment my husband received at koula hospital when he was knocked off his motorbike was brilliant. I am a nurse and was very impressed with the orthopaedic surgeon in charge that day.
When I had food poisoning my husband mistakenly took me to the royal as he didnt know where muscat private was as we were new to the country, and my treatment was very good.
When my child fell against a rough wall and needed stitches to her forehead we went to the muscat private and she received excellent treatment from a very child friendly doctor there.
I had reason to seek treatment from a doctor on another occasion and was given an appointment immediately at medident in MQ, where i was treated quickly.
So i have had nothing but good experiences of medical care since coming to Muscat.
Can i just add that the nurses in all the hospitals dont know how good they have it here!

Anonymous said...

i have had three planned medical c-sect at MPH. Two went without incident and the other my baby was in ICU for 5 days but I can not say that was the fault of the medical team however the Paed Dr at the time was awful in his approach and how he handled the situation with me (basically blaming me). My last baby was a few weeks ago. All went well but then I had my doctor of choice and I made sure Dr hans was on duty.
MPH is a business now. Even before we were taken to our room we had to pay the full amount up front which had not been the case previously. Everything (and a little more I think) is charged for from the cotton buds to band aids etc. The rooms need fresh paint and better care. The midwives are brilliant and most of the nursing staff were great with one or two exceptions.

It is not the excellent hospital it use to be years ago where you really felt like you were cared for and special and the staff were happy and cheery. Now it is like any other money making institution.

I would recommend MPH to others however I would only do so if they could see one or two specific doctors. Sorry to ramble and now i need to go feed the bub.

Good blog

MALaw said...

We have a bun in the oven. Being an expat, and it being our first, I ferociously and voraciously visited all the clinics and private hosps that were within range (distance/time and money). As you've said, there are small things that are glossed over which - to a person in need or when things go wrong - might turn out to be very significant indeed.

MPH, we'd heard (firsthand from a friend) about deliveries, so we avoided it altogether. Al Raffah is too far away (from Bustan). Apollo has a nice ob-gyn dept. going, but 3 months into settling with the doc, we get to know that she's not certified for deliveries and is just a radiologist. The delivery is to be handled by a completely different doc. who doesn't take visiting patients - only delivery cases.

So, yeah, problems are there - and more so when you're an expat and you're the target of stares and problems if seen around a govt. hosp. lobby.

Better something be done soon, or healthcare will go the way of the foodstuff mini-shops!

Anonymous said...

I'm a first time mom n I had my baby at MPH last year n the experience was great.The mid wife was wonderful and was always ready to help with anything including the numerous questions I had about everything.I can look back n think of MPH with a smile so I'm kinda surprised about what U'e written.

Anonymous said...

I gave birth to my son few weeks ago to MPH, Meconium stained is detected soon as Im admitted

(Meconium aspiration syndrome is a leading cause of severe illness and death in the newborn. The possibility of inhaling meconium occurs in about 5-10% of births. It typically occurs when the fetus is stressed during labor, especially when the infant is past its due date).

but instead of putting me into emergency C-section they let me wait for 7 hrs inside their ward despite of our request to cut me ASAP to avoid the risk for me and the child.

Second thing is after 4 days of stay in MPH we are expecting a pediatrician to give us his final and detailed discharge summary about our child's health but unfortunately no body arrived so we decided to get a second opinion from other hospital and disappointedly found out that our son has INFECTION caused by the previous incident.

We raised this issue to MPH higher officer for investigation. and was more surprised about their explanations.


Q: How come they don’t have discharged summary for the baby only for the mother?

Q: Why the pink book is not filled up properly?
A: LAZYNESS OF SOME STAFF, he replied....

What ANNOYING answers from MPH. We almost paid OMR 2000 for this inconvenience and worst we almost lost our child.

Anonymous said...

I'm currently going to Al Raffah for my visits (my first baby) and I'm so comfortable with the doctor, she is so good and knowledgable. she makes you feel at ease and answers any questions or doubts :)

I've been to the ER ealrier this year, something to do with food poisoning and bacterial infection in the stomach and they handled me well and good ( I was rushed to them in the afternoon ) that's why I decided to go to them for my check-ups

Anonymous said...

MPH and cardiology? Nope. Whilst they can conduct a variety of tests such as ecg, ultrasound and CT Angiogram, if you are unfortunate enough to require angioplasty or any other kind of surgery, you are on your way elsewhere and guess what? When you arrive elsewhere they want to do all the testing again, there's profit in it!

Oman_Resident said...

Dear all,

I have reason to believe that my child born at Muscat Private Hospital in November 2012 has sustained VACCINE POISONING or a possible vaccine overdose that has resulted in his diagnosis of INFANTILE SPASMS. I have reason to believe that the nurses at MPH who gave my son the HepB vaccine on birth have injected the vaccine incorrectly or gave him an over-dose. This is because after detailed testing, his diagnosis was still idiopathic, ie no known underlying cause. We have had the most devastating 9 months of our lives and only now, a long time after, I am able to actually discuss this issue. I believe MPH is an incopetent institution and I am looking for means to sue them legally. I was recently informed by my Gyn who I ran into that another baby born by c-section at the hospital at the same day/time as my son also had infantile spasms. Obviously, there is only one thing in common between these two unrelated infants, and that is the vaccine dose they received on birth. We ended up going to Dubai for full treatment for our son as the neuro-pediatrist Dr Macky at MPH who we initially showed to gave us a wrong diagnosis and wrong medication. I cannot begin to write about our and our child's suffering since his birth - what should have been a beautiful experience became our life's biggest nightmare, and I know that it was because of Muscat Private Hospital. Please stay away from this hospital, esp the delivery/infant care facilities.

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