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In China for 3 weeks.

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I've been in China for about 5 days now. This is perhaps my 18th trip to China mainly to visit with my Chinese wife's family. For several years now we've been making 2 trips per year. This trip we are helping to take care of my father-in-law who is in TongJi Hospital in Wuhan. Since my wife is a doctor, it's interesting to see the differences between how these two cultures practice medicine.

One major difference is here the family is expected to take care of the patient's daily needs. We are here monitoring the IV drip and saline irrigation (he had a TERP performed and they irrigate the bladder after the operation). If something is not functioning like it's supposed to, we push the button for the nurse. The family is also responsible for many of the supplies used for the care of the patient and for the patient's food. Before the operation, they gave us a list of things we needed to buy for his care such as pads to place under him and a plastic bucket for the irrigation to drain into. This is much cheaper than in the US as we would have to pay maybe $10 per pad but here, we bought a package of them for about $5.

The cost of all major procedures here are between 1/10th to 1/30th the cost in the USA. A friend had a C-section birth and the cost was $1600. Of course that would be more like $30k here. As far as the quality of care, most things are very similar. The surgeons are good and nursing care seems about the same. It's just that the family is expected to help and that cuts the cost way down.

Traffic is crazy in every major city. They are building new roads and widening existing ones as fast as possible, but the vehicles are increasing more than the construction can keep up with. I took a taxi 11 miles from their apartment to the hospital and it took 41 minutes for an average speed of 16 mph. A bicycle or motor scooter would be much faster.