Travel With Kids: Trips to the Hospital in Asia

An account of our two trips to the hospital while traveling in Asia

We’ve been very lucky on our trips to Asia and Europe with our kids. But eventually luck runs out for every traveler and on two of our trips we made hasty visits to the Emergency room.

The first time, while traveling in Bali, was due to a dog bite. We had been browsing through an open air art gallery in Ubud when Samuel approached a sleeping dog a little too quickly. It snapped and minutes later we were headed south to the hospital in Kuta.

Even though rabies isn’t endemic to Bali, if you don’t know the dog or can’t verify that its had its shots you need to get the vaccine. It’s nice too, because it’s not just one shot but a series of shots stretched out over 3 weeks. (Day 1, 3, 7, 14 and 21 following the initial visit.)

The first visit – directly after the bite – involved 7 shots in total. Six in the area immediately around the bite and then a general shot in the arm. We then had to return to the hospital periodically over the remainder of our trip.

Hospital Policy: one medical-glove balloon for every half dozen shots. At the BIMC Hospital in Kuta, Bali


The next time we had to make an emergency room diversion was on our way home from Vietnam. We had a 10 hour layover in the Seoul airport. We had checked into the airport hotel and were just about to bed down for a planned 6 hour nap when Samuel (him again) lost his balance on the bed and did a face plant into a mahogony table. A large gash opened in his forehead producing plenty of blood. Fortunately there was an emergency room clinic in the airport. Unfortunately it’s through immigration, so my wife took him through the customs and immigrations lines. I can only assume they must have gotten some weird looks – blood soaked towel, no bags, no coats or sweaters – making their way through the lineup. Welcome to South Korea. Yay! and then off to Emerg.

It all went pretty well from there. The doctors were really nice. They used medical glue as a temporary measure, said he did great, the wound looked fine and he should see a plastic surgeon within 12 hours of gettting home.

Sushi time after a little emergency medical care in Seoul.
Eating sushi in Seoul airport after the hospital


For a different take on our trip to Bali read One BIG Reason To Travel With Kids.

8 questions and comments

  1. Jen

    I am totally showing this post to my husband. Before every trip, I always call the insurance to confirm overseas policies and coverage and he makes fun of me for being overly cautious! What a trooper–seven shots in one visit?!?

    Reply
    1. David Post author

      I never thought much about coverage but when you have kids it sure is important. We’ve had no trouble making claims on our policies which is nice. As I said below, the charge in Korea was only $17. It was a bit more in Bali but still pretty modest. I suppose it would really kick in if you had to be flown out in a real emergency.

      Reply
  2. Amy @ The Q Family

    Wow! I have to say we are fortunate enough to never experience emergency visit during our trip. Except one minor visit in Thailand but it was pretty easy for me since I came from Thailand.

    He was a trooper though. No tear in any of the pictures. :)

    Reply
  3. Lauren

    What a story. Glad everything turned out okay. We’ve had our own share of ER adventures, and my son is only 16 months! Also, that sushi looks incredible.

    Reply
    1. David Post author

      I thought it was delicious. He’d been craving sushi for quite a while though I don’t think it was exactly what he was looking for. Not quite like the sushi he has back home.

      Reply
  4. soultravelers3

    Wow! So glad he is better!

    We’ve been been on an open ended, non-stop world tour as a family since 2006 & luckily our child has never had anything so serious, although we have made a few emergency stops at hospitals and doctors in quite a few countries.

    My young daughter’s have been minor, but I have ended up with some doozies including a bike wreck on the Danube that landed me into the hospital with surgery, a broken bone & paralyzed arm that is still healing almost 6 months later!

    The good news? We have always gotten FAR superior care at MUCH less cost than if we had to deal with it in the USA! My recent injury would have cost over 50,000 dollars in the US & only cost 2500 dollars in Austria including over a week in the hospital, ambulances, top tests and PT.

    Another time I ended up in an ambulance & minor surgery and it was free! Every times the emergency visits have been free & excellent, dental care also great and super cheap.

    We travel the world and live large on just 23 dollars a day per person, and one of the ways we save money is health insurance and medical & dental care. So much better & cheaper outside of the US.

    Funny to see the plastic glove used as a balloon as that is what our surgeon did to entertain our daughter when she was so worried about mom. ;)

    Reply

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