Thursday, February 05, 2004

I have written in the past that Wifey is pregnant and is due in mid March. We have been using the National Health Service (NHS) of Britain. If all goes to plan the newest member of our family will be born at Queens Medical Center (QMC). Our first child was born in America on private insurance, so it will be interesting to contrast the NHS to our private medical insurance of Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

Overall NHS has been all right but, there have been some glaring differences. They rush you in and out appointments, when you see the doctor. During the pregnancy of our first child, Wifey suffered from a mild case of preeclampsia, anemia, and rapid weight gain. Those medical conditions showed up again. To us the doctors down played conditions. So we called our doctor in America and she gave us advice, told us to ask for extra tests, and questions to ask to find out more about the Wifey’s medical status. We have been to the hospital many times; and we have not seen the same doctor twice in a row. The doctor you see is based on the luck of the draw of who is available.

We asked what doctor would deliver our child and nobody could give us answer. We asked who are the night shift doctors and got a shrug. Then we found out we have a midwife instead. There is no assigned midwife or doctor. We found out there is a shortage of midwifes and doctors in the region.

We have found out from our tour of the QMC things that we took for granted in America we will have to buy or do ourselves. First, we have to bring diapers for the new baby. With our first child, the hospital provided all the diapers we wanted and they gave us 10 or 12 extra when we left. Not here, we will be bringing a box of diapers since newborns go through them almost on an hourly basis. Also we re got six or seven “receiving” blankets in the States, but none here. When you are in the maternity ward at QMC, somebody will have to bring you food from the canteen or you have to get out of bed and get it yourself. When we left the hospital we had a bag of free samples from companies trying to entice us to buy their products. Not here. Also there is no Hepatitis B shot or ointment in eyes after birth to prevent infection.

Here are some positives of the NHS: free prescription drugs for the pregnancy and dental care during the pregnancy and a year after the birth. Daily midwife home visits for first 10 days after you leave the hospital and if necessary 28 days. Visits will be transfer to a health care visitor after the midwife is done tour.

I will write more as the big day get closer.

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