Saturday, December 01, 2007

Review: Giving Birth at Asian Hospital

Fortunately for hubs and I, we had the option of giving birth in one of the bigger and more expensive private hospitals in the country (one that's in the same league as The Medical City, Makati Med, and St. Luke's). Note that I purposefully didn't use the term BEST to describe said hospital... because in terms of competency, PGH will always reign supreme for me, overworked healthcare providers and recycled medical paraphernalia notwithstanding.

Anyway, my OB is top infertilty specialist referral by PGH anyway... and she happens to be affiliated with PGH, Manila Doctors and the hospital where I gave birth, ASIAN HOSPITAL.

I would not deny that giving birth in Asian Hosp was a dream... not because of its reputation (as some of my OB's patients would usually comment, ang sosyal ko daw for giving birth there), but because my SIL gave birth there... and my BIL got to record on video our niece's first few hours at the Huggery (nursery) (with pictures of her still bloody and wailing. Given my neurotic need for documentation, that was a serious incentive!

But my greatest wish was to have my husband in the delivery room with me... to comfort me through the gruelling, horrifying hours of labor. Madocs, as well as the other bigger hospitals previously mentioned, only allow that for Lamaze certificate-carrying couples and you will have to be wiling to pay extra for that privilege. The other bigger hospitals also have birthing rooms, which again will require some extra expense. Asian, however, allows each Mommy ONE person (husband, sister, whoever) to be with her at the DR... and that person is allowed a camera. Hitting two desires with one stone, eh?

But hubs and I still hemmed and hawed... the estimates given us by our OB suggested that we'd save some P10k if we gave birth at Madocs instead. Aside from being closer to where we actually live, my previous confinements at Madocs have made us confident with the hospital already. Heck, the staff there already knew me... and their OB wing's nurses all knew how to properly draw blood and put on IVs.

We even considered switching OBs... and giving birth in less popular hospitals like Lourdes Hospital (in Sta. Mesa) to save on costs. Unfortunately, most of them have a no-Daddy-in-the-DR policy.

Had it been a non-difficult pregnancy, and had it not developed into a possible-high-risk pregnancy (because of the polyhydramnios and overdue thing), and had it not been our first pregnancy, and had I not have a strong history of allergies... we really wouldn't mind giving birth in a lying-in clinic too. But hubs has always been adamant about giving birth in a big hospital, with all the facilities and equipment to handle complications... he was silently scared I wouldn't ever go back alive from the delivery, see.

So anyway, we kept hemming and hawing. But we had my admittance letter made out for confinement at Asian anyway. Turns out, i'd never use that one... because i'd be made another one. I was past 40 weeks and the baby is not yet in position and my cervix is as closed as ever and my baby's amniotic fluid level is still high. Hubs and I decided to have a CS rather than risk anything more...

And Madocs charges 40% surcharge for emergency operations and surgeries during Holidays and Weekends while Asian does not.

Since I was a CS case, I was wheelchaired to the admissions office first (by way of the ER, because we got to the hospital just before 12 midnight and their main lobby as well as basement parking were already closed). We filled up some forms and they took a picture of me which was printed with all my forms.

And then you are asked to pay 50% of your expected expense (if you're a foreigner, you'd be expected to pay full projected expense) based on the room you got (we got the cheapest private one that was available) and the procedure you intend to get. The professional fees of your doctors aren't included here yet.

Hubs was then asked to pay P30k which he did at the Cashier Desk at the ER. Then we were wheeled to our room (1009) at the tenth floor (OB wing). Mommies are weighed and measured before entering the room... and clients are briefed on room use (how often housekeeping passes by, when meals are delivered, which button to press when you need a nurse, how to deal with the bed, etc).

Facilities-wise, Asian Hospital is like a hotel. I've seen the lobby and private rooms of The Medical City and can safely say that Asian's look more expensive and tasteful.

ROOMS Asian doesn't seem to have an OB ward... the most number of patients that can share a room is four but unless you are all OB cases, you don't really have that option.

Believe me, we tried getting the cheapest possible room, knowing that it affects other charges, thinking we'd just get a private one after the surgery and when we're ready to room-in the baby already.

Anyway, we got their standard private room which costs P2,500 per day. I love this curtain arch by its door that allows for more privacy for the patient (in case you're in varying states of undress and someone else comes in, you're given time to shout that you're not decent without that someone seeing just how indecent you are).

Bed is pushbutton at both sides, so I need not have anyone turning some wheel for me at the foot of my bed to raise me up and down. You also only need to push at the call button for the nurses once, because it won't stop beeping till a nurse attends to you (where she could also deactivate the alert). Aside from the usual oxygen and vacuum thingies, the room also has its own BP monitor mounted on the wall.

A window seat and pullout sofa bed allows your mate to get some rest. Unfortunately, the seat and pullout bed were not designed to accommodate big people like my hubs... both were too short for my 5'10"-5'11" tall husband to stretch his entire body comfortably.

Visiting hours is till 9:00 PM.

GENESIS : DELIVERY ROOM / LABOR ROOM When it's time, you are wheeled into Genesis, this huge room where labor and delivery happens. The labor area is composed of several beds separated easily by curtains. Unfortunately, I didn't really spend so much time there. But it was where they gave me my anesthesia with my IV drip. It goes without saying that the room was spotless, expansive, quiet, and all things nice.

And of course, I didn't really get to see any of their birthing rooms because I was requiring surgery.

OPERATING ROOM I believe it goes without saying that the hospital is equipped with the latest/state-of-the-art equipment and is completely sterile. Anyway, the OR is somewhere near the labor room. They can schedule C-sections every hour, I think (because the one before mine was scheduled at 8 AM, while I was scheduled at 9 AM). True enough, I was inserted my banana bag at 6:00 AM in my room, brought down to the labor room at 8:00 AM and in the OR at exactly 9:00 AM.

I'm not sure if beds in ORs are the same... but I was strapped onto a cross-like bed (at least, they had my arms extended sidewards). What else can one possibly say about ORs?

Anyway, I dozed off because of the analgesia given me... woken when hubs was already asked to come inside in time to take pictures of Yakee being yanked out of my belly. After being offered Yakee for me to kiss for the first time, and for him to latch onto my breasts and all the possible pictures Jojo may want to take, I dozed off again. At 11:00 AM, I woke up and was back in the labor room again, able to feel my toes again. At 12:00 NN, I was back in my room.

HUGGERY / NURSERY Unfortunately, I never got to see Yakee in the Huggery. Because I had to lie flat till 4:00 PM and Yakee is brought to my room for feeding, and rooming him in that night, I just never had the opportunity. The good thing I know about their huggery though is that it's one glass wall where you can enjoy your newborn to your heart's content. There's also no visiting hours (although family and friends wouldn't really stay or visit at past 12 midnight, surely?). So yeah, like our niece Iya, you can take pics and video of your newborn, watch him cry and fuss and self-soothe.

healthcare professionals and other staff
DOCTORS Our doctors were great. The chuwariwap/counterpart/reliever of the anesthesiologist assigned to us immediately visited my room and ran the procedure by me within an hour of being admitted. My anesthesiologist also did the same while I was in the labor room.

Our OB, Dr. Blanca de Guia (Asian Clinic: 771-9343, Escoda Clinic: 524-4946) advised me to have a piece of paper ready stating that I have a strong history of allergy upon admission. This would be clipped to my chart and doctors/nurses would already know what to do. So I printed two instructions on a piece of orange paper (strong allergy history and intention to exclusively breastfeed barring complications) which was followed by the hospital staff.

So anyway, having been advised... I was interviewed as early as admission of the drugs am allergic to. My anesthesiologist decided to use analgesiacs of a really different make from the ones am allergic to, to avoid reactions completely... and she also decided to not give me the usual after-surgery drugs. Basically, I was given Tramal for pain management.

Oh and yeah, I believe it's the anesthesiologist who was sweet enough to gently caress my face to wake me up to tell me Jojo was already around.

My OB is, I believe, a very good one. She's very no-nonsense and blunt and direct to the point and even cataclysmic... but like what I said, she's well-recommended and I never doubted her competence. And my C-section scar is healing very nicely...

Our pedia is Dr. Pam Caedo (Asian clinic: 771-9256) who is very sweet when she explains things. She also accepts Intellicare cards.

NURSES I'd still say that nurses at Madocs are better in drawing blood and inserting needles in veins... but other than that, the Nurses at Asian are all really nice and competent.

Since they don't have student nurses at Asian, you don't get disturbed in your sleep by so many nurses. Plus, they have this system where aside from all the nurses in that floor, they also assign a particular nurse to you. These nurses (two shifts per day) introduce themselves to you and will answer your call and will generally be responsible for you all day.

I will admit, however, to getting annoyed once or twice with a nurse or two... there was this instance when I was trying to breastfeed Yakee and the nurse attending to me was getting in the way (she was correcting what I was doing but she was actually in the wrong). Oh, and even if you've roomed-in, you or your nurse can request assistance from nurses from the Huggery to help you care for your baby (like show you how to sponge bathe your baby, or change nappies, or swaddle).

Another instance was upon checking out... since it's hospital policy that all patients be in wheelchairs and all babies in bassinets, Yakee and I were separated. The nurse in charge of Yakee got too comfy with Yakee... I didn't mind that she burped him while we were waiting at the lobby for hubs (who was getting our car), but I minded that she took a phone call at the reception desk without handing Yakee over to me (or my cousin).

Oh and there's this instance at the OR pala where a nurse tripped over some stool... and she was carrying Yakee. Good thing hubs came to her (and our precious son's) rescue in time.

OTHER STAFF Housekeeping people bringing in the food, beddings, newspaper and cleaning the room were all polite and courteous and nice. Their bedside manners are all really great and if one could tip them, one would. We did share a chocolate cake with them :)

I guess that's also a plus if you're in a hospital that doesn't have staff who get harried like people in PGH... because you actually get smiles, explanations, prompt service and appropriate assistance.

Hospital food is catered by Makati Skyline. In all honesty, i've never been a fan of their fare, believing that they're just so-so. I've attended so many weddings catered by them already, and spending some 3 days eating their prepared hospital food didn't change the way I feel about them. Some food they serve taste really good, some are just weird-tasting (for me) or bland. And nothing exceptional talaga. But at least the fare they serve offer variety, and they also serve snacks (at Madocs kasi, they don't). Every morning too, they'd include this menu for the next day for you to check, in case you want more of/none of a particular dish they're preparing for the next day. I never bothered with the checklist so i'd usually get small portions of everything they can offer.

Another great thing they offer is the PDD, pre-discharge dinner for two, which they serve on the eve of your discharge. They also give you the option on where you want to eat it, in your room or at their restaurant somewhere in the hospital complex. Since we roomed-in and had no one to watch over Yakee, we opted to enjoy ours in our room. It's really a sweet touch for new parents to enjoy.

However, am not sure if this is offered to all patients or just maternity patients. And visitors or bantays have many restaurants/fast-food chains/stores to choose from in the complex for food/snacks... and it is very near ATC, Filinvest Mall, etc.

getting discharged
Once the OB and Pedia (unless you have other doctors that attended to you or your baby, like a urologist, neurologist, cardiologist, allergologist, etc) gave the clearance for discharge at the Nurses' Station, you will be informed asap. Plus, your doctors' secretaries will be calling you to inquire how you want to settle the PFs. They give receipts naman in case you're asked by the hospital staff. You also get an itemized bill for both you and the baby, which will also consider the deposit you've made already... After settling your bill, you will get these clearance slips for the nurses and the hospital guard (I think).

All patients are required to be wheeled out on a wheelchair... and all babies are required to be in bassinets and wheeled out by a nurse. They also provide hotel-like trolleys for all your stuff and every assistant will stay with you till your car arrives by the lobby door.

Before leaving the hospital, do pass by ADMISSIONS again and get your Asian Hospital Privilege Card to avail of future hospital discounts. Love it because it's Yakee's first ID :)


I hope people won't think we're putting a price on Yakee's birth, or bragging in any way. Basta nothing negative. But since I wanted this post to be an objective review of the birth that will assist others contemplating a delivery in Asian, i'd be doing people a disservice if I don't post the charges we incurred.

So, my hospital bill amounted to P31,123.75 (net of Philhealth claim, which was P12,138.00) while Yakee's hospital bill amounted to P10,331.85. Take note, hospital bill :) The PFs we paid amounted to a total of P75,000.00, inclusive of Philhealth discount (P45k for OB, P12k for Pedia, P18k for Anesthesiologist).

Our OB actually gave us a discounted PF because she says she normally charges P50k for a CS at Asian.

Yes, hubs and I exchanged looks of dismay lots of times during discharge time. We had P90k cash and used P30k of it to pay the deposit. That was a sort of wrong move because the PFs all required cash (as opposed to the hospital bill which we paid using our credit card) so hubs had to withdraw more cash pa. Basically, we had to dip in our savings because I still had drugs to buy and we had check-ups the following week (and hubs, suffering from a chronic cough nga, kept going to Intellicare-affiliated doctors at Asian, who kept dispensing expensive drugs that refused to work on him).

Anyway, more details/rants on the hospital charges:

~ You get charged for rooming-in your baby. This came as a surprise because I actually thought it might save us charges from the Nursery. Am not sure if it covers bassinet-rental (which we only used for nappy-changing Yakee since he slept with me or in Jojo's arms the whole time we were there). They charge P500 per day.
~ Newborn screening test costs P705.00, Newborn-blood type and screen (abo rh & dat) costs P860.00 and Otoacoustic Emission (hearing test) costs P495.00
~ You will take home at least two kidney basins, one white basin and one plastic bedpan because you'd be charged for all this (the other kidney basin is charged to the baby at the Nursery actually, and a nurse seems to have taken Yakee's kaya we only got to bring home one).
~ The baby will get a diaper pack to be charged against you... am not sure if they use just one brand but we got Drypers (size small) which was enough to last us during the confinement (eventhough we brought a pack of newborn-sized nappies too)
~ The baby will also get 60 ml Cetaphil (used in washing him, then later on in sponge bathing him)
~ The baby will get his first vaccine (Hep B, P640)) and will be applied eye ointment (P766)
~ I was kinda upset with being charged TWO boxes of examination gloves (100 pcs per box) which cost P370/box. Two boxes because you get charged one as a Mom in your room, and the baby gets charged one while at the nursery. I am assuming it's for the nurses when they clean you up. But the nurses usually came with their own gloves... and you don't get cleaned that often naman to require an entire box. Pramis, this is highway robbery... the hospital should either order in smaller packaging/quantities or just let the nurses use them at will. Sure, we can probably still use it at home... but how many actually don gloves while cleaning up their babies ba? Sus.
~ Drugs used on me include Sensorcaine Heavy, Ephedrine SO 45%, Xylocaine, Methergine, Plasil, Dormicum, Nubain, Evatocin, and Tramal (in case anybody's interested to use the analgesia type used on me because I only got groggy, no nauseous feeling and no curling like a fetus so they can inject me with the anesthesia). I also took Himox and Natalac and Tramadol while I was confined.

Anyway, i'm guessing this is as detailed this will get. Except for the higher professional fees, I wouldn't say that Asian Hospital charges a lot. At least, the experience is worth the hospital fees naman :)


I just want to stress that though you get what you pay for, not all bigger medical institutions are exactly better. I have heard of numerous complaints about Asian Hosp's Emergency Room and a message board friend had a bad experience at St. Luke's.


Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this detailed account. My wife needs a hysterectomy. We're considering Manila Docs and Asian. Your post was a big help. Bob and Carol

Filipina said...

Hi,You answer all my queries in mind.My OB is in ASIAN, I am planning to give birth there too.My fear is the cost too.But, my biggest fear is the risk of giving birth.
Is it true that if you give birth in ASIAN you have a one year supply of DRYPERS??

Hope you can add my blog..
Thanks..happy blogging

Mec said...

Filipina... like what I said in my post, the drypers we got was good only for the confinement, so good for several days.

I gave birth in Asian again last year and Prokids ata yung diaper brand that was charged to us.

RLM said...

Hi I hope you dont mind me asking, but how much was your pedia (pam caedo)'s fee when you gave birth? Is she breastfeeding friendly? I am in the process of looking for a pedia so I have one when I give birth ksi. Thank you for such a helpful blog about asian!

Mec said...

We paid P12k to Dr. Caedo back in 2007 :)