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Medical, Qatar

Socialized medicine in Qatar

September 6, 2013

Yes, I have already visited the doctor and the ER.  I actually visited them the second week here!  My friends and family know this is nothing unusual.  I was a bit worried about going because my health insurance didn’t kick in until September 1, but I forgot that Qatar has socialized medicine! Or in some of the world universal healthcare.  First was my trip to the doctor.  I have been getting sinus infections more frequently in Texas and had one not too long before I left.  The second week, I had some sinus pain and pressure.  After asking my boss where I should go, she reminded me that I could go to the clinic for Qatar Foundation employees.  I walked in, filled out paperwork, went to triage and saw the doctor, which in total took about 15 minutes!  No cost!  Only had to pay for the medicine he prescribed.  The only ID I show them was my VCU ID!  The medicine cost 11 Riyals at the pharmacy, which is about $3.  By the way, I didn’t have a sinus infection.  My sinuses just don’t like the air conditioning overload.

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The ER visit took place after the trip to the Inland Sea.  My right pinkie toe had started to feel strange and was swollen.  I was trying to be brave and not say anything to my companions, since I had been to the doctor the day before and felt silly.  But as we began the long drive back to civilization, my foot and ankle began to hurt.  I was sure I had been stung.  My Qatari friend insisted we go to the ER in the small town on the way back to Doha.  I gave in.  This visit was even shorter than the doctor visit.  I registered with the desk with only my visa, as my passport is off having its own adventure.  Then I was let into I private exam room and vitals were taken.  The doctor came in a minute later and examined my foot.  Let the really feeling silly start as he told me I had sprained my foot!  No sting!  He prescribed medicine for the sprain and gave me a compression sock thing.  The ER had a pharmacy down the hall.  Total cost of visit 6 Riyals!  About $1.64!  And that was just the medicine.  No visit fee.

I should also note that both place were clean, had normal procedures of asking about medicine I was taking, taking blood pressure, etc.  They were nice and professional.  Now I don’t know what they would be like in a real emergency, but at least I know better what to expect in the future.