21 July 2019
With Hong Kong in the winter flu season, some medical clinics are facing renewed criticism over their service quality. Photo: RTHK
With Hong Kong in the winter flu season, some medical clinics are facing renewed criticism over their service quality. Photo: RTHK

Why I’m no fan of medical clinics during the flu season

Nothing is worse than visiting a doctor during the flu season. Apart from being made to wait in a long queue, which will only further dampen your spirits, only few doctors know how to cure you within a week.

I say this after suffering a bad flu and cough for 10 days recently and found myself cursing the doctors most of the time.

Perhaps the first thing I would like to see come to an end is the medical clinic chains, especially those that are located conveniently in the MTR stations or in the office building next to you.

These clinics appear to care for nothing except how much they can charge your medical cards. At least this seemed to be the very first thing they ask for, other than your identity card.

Aware of their poor service, I rarely visited such clinics for more than three years. The last time I went to one such facility, prior to a trip this month, it was to a famous medical center in Central for a body check-up.

I recall that the outlet was one of the clinics that an ailing listed medical group acquired in its early days.

When I met the doctor, he told me that I was merely lucky to scrape through the cholesterol and blood pressure tests given my obvious obesity — passing gratuitous comments as if he were my form teacher who handed me a recommended pass.

Despite my apprehensions, I found myself visiting another such facility this month.

I didn’t have much choice, really. I was having a fever on a Saturday afternoon and I was too weak to go anywhere beyond five minutes from home.

So I went to a new clinic. The doctor was an old man with exceptional patience and he asked me lots of questions that made me feel that he could be different from the usual type of clinic doctors.

I harbored positive thoughts after taking his prescribed medicine, which made me very sleepy. I think I must have slept 30 hours over that weekend – and I was too weak to speak.

Feeling better, and thinking I was getting back to normal, I decided to show up later for lunch and dinner appointments that I had made earlier.

But I was wrong. I had more cough and running nose than before. I suspect I must have passed on some germs to my acquaintances.

I tried to find the old doctor again, but when I went to the place I couldn’t find his name tag (that happens to a lot of “freelance” and retired doctors, I suppose).

So I took my chance with another doctor.

The new doctor, a lady, told me the medicine I had the last time was too strong. I told her I needed to recover within a week. She gave me another set of medicines, including something she said would make me instantly better – on a HK$100 surcharge.

Well, it didn’t. I lost my voice the following days, forcing me to stay at home for complete rest for an extended period.

I don’t know if God got tired hearing my curses on doctors, but he finally decided to cure me. All of a sudden after Day 10, I started having less cough and the flu was gone.

I’ve now vowed to do all I can henceforth to avoid falling sick in the flu season. And if that still happens, think twice before going to a medical clinic.

– Contact us at [email protected]


EJ Insight writer

EJI Weekly Newsletter

Please click here to unsubscribe