Worst Case Scenario – Injury in Thailand

Imagine running down the side of a mountain in the middle of nowhere, falling 5 meters and dislocating your shoulder.

Well that was me during a morning run in Thailand.

Even though I’ve never dislocated a shoulder before the self diagnosis was quick given the acute angle my right right shoulder was on when I was eventually in a position to take stock of the situation. Interestingly the actual dislocation didn’t hurt, perhaps it was the adrenalin, but there was also no pain on the 30min walk to the nearest medical centre in Haad Rin – the Bandon Clinic. The relocation however was a completely different story!

By this stage it was about 0730 in the morning and I was the first guest. Within minutes I was x-rayed and an initial confirmation came back that there was no apparent fracture (phew…! My overseas trip isn’t over!). However this confirmation kicked off the next step in the process the relocation of my shoulder.

Imagine the doctor, five helpers, 15 minutes and a considerable amount of morphine. But with a semi-reassuring clunk, and a moderate degree of yelling from myself, my shoulder was back in place.

From here a quick 15min speedboat trip to Bangkok International Hospital (on Koh Samui) to see a specialist confirmed, once again, that I didn’t incur a fracture. Then it was back to Koh Phangan where the staff in Haad Rin literally taxied me back to my accommodation via one of their ambulance/utility vehicles. By this stage it was late afternoon, the morphine was wearing off and the realisation of what could have been left me somewhat sucker punched – but what doesn’t kill you (etc, etc)….

It wasn’t until the next day that I was able to reflect on the level of service I received from the staff both at the Haad Rin clinic and at Samui hospital. Their professionalism and competence was far greater than what I expected. Overall I can’t speak highly enough about my experience and it is incredibly reassuring to know that if the worst case scenario was to occur on Koh Phangan or Koh Samui for that matter you’re in safe hands.

As a side note I subsequently discovered that my medical insurance would not cover this incident as I did not have a return ticket to New Zealand. There was no point arguing the fact as it is clearly stated in the insurance terms – but this is mentioned for you travellers out there; ensure you fully understand your insurance terms and conditions otherwise you may find yourself paying for quite an expensive speed boat ride to Koh Samui!

Bandon Clinic

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