In more than four decades as a diplomat, I have had occasion to visit and stay in a number of hospitals throughout the world. Recently, I had to undergo a very serious open-heart operation at Severance Hospital in Seoul, and the experience made a lasting impression on me.
In the first place, I was treated in a highly professional manner at all times. From the moment my condition was diagnosed, I was given sound and frank advice on the options before me. Great care was also taken to explain the progress of my treatment in laymen’s language. I had often found previously that doctors tended to be aloof from their patients—but this was not the case at Severance. And it was not only the senior professional staff whose attitude was admirable. All the support staff, from the nurses to the orderlies who wheeled me to the x-ray room each morning, were unfailingly friendly and cheerful.
Furthermore, the preparations for my operation were meticulous. Before the surgery itself, I was hospitalized for a week, during which time I underwent a series of tests. Even my teeth were scaled. And the operation itself? Well, as I am writing this, it was obviously a success—perhaps due in part to my overall health condition, but in greater part due to the superb competence and expertise of my doctors, to whom I owe my life.
Nobody is happy to undergo an open-heart surgery. I was lucky in more ways than one that mine was taken care of by the doctors and staff of Severance Hospital. I will forever be in their debt.
Last updated on 9 March 2013
Before Leaving the Hospital: Get All the Paperwork
Impatient to be gone, and often suffering the woozy side effects of surgery and post-operative pharmaceuticals, patients too often find themselves back at home later, missing important documents that could have more easily been obtained on site. So before you hightail it out of your hospital or clinic, be sure that you have all of your important documents.
Generally, larger hospitals provide complete medical documentation as part of the standard exit procedure. However, some smaller clinics may rely more on verbal instructions, and they are less likely to build and maintain a dossier on your case.