Navigating Health Checks

I had an interesting conversation this weekend with two other women (nonKorean) who have been here about four or five years. We ended up talking about the horrifying experiences of going to the doctor here, especially if it is for a mandatory company health check. I was fascinated that all three of us had rather shocking stories to tell. Not just embarrassing but things that made our skin crawl.

On Korea4Expats’ article on Doctors and Cultural Differences they state: “Koreans do not have the same sense of privacy that Westerners do, so don’t be embarrassed if the doctor asks to examine you in front of other patients.” Really? Advice on how I should feel? They also go on to give some advice to get some privacy that is not customary: “If this is an issue for you, you can ask to have a screen put up. If possible, the staff will usually try to comply.”

The way that this ‘issue’ is talked about on this advice site, implies more than following the adage “When in Rome.” I guess I feel doubly slapped after reading this. Once from my humiliating experience and again on this site which reprimands me for letting myself feel humiliated. So because my culture has privacy around medical situations, I am being high maintenance and “have an issue” when I am paraded through sea of my male coworkers, without my top on, because they have no clothes to cover me for the chest xray. I shouldn’t be so over-reactive when they yell out blood test results like “The foreigner doesn’ t have AIDS.’

If you have a horror story or advice to give people who have newly arrived about navigating the Korean Health Care System, hospitals and doctor appoints, please share.

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  1. […] I wrote about Navigating Health Checks last week, I shared it on Facebook and got some great replies. What I noticed were two […]



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