ABSTRACT: Orthopedic Team Completes Thoracic Vertebral Surgery, Satisfactory Recovery and Smooth Discharge
Peet, who was on a business trip from Belgium to China, was involved in a car accident on the highway to Dongguan, Guangdong Province. Fortunately, his life was not in grave danger but he needed immediate care. A local ambulance rushed Peet to a hospital in Dongguan for immediate treatment. However, due to a language barrier, some medical practices could not be smoothly communicated and carried out. This propelled Peet to urgently contacted his insurance company, who told him about Shenzhen United Family Hospital, reassuring him that he had an international healthcare option close by.
Shenzhen United Family Hospital is a general hospital that can provide quality multilingual services and accept direct payments with more than 20 insurance companies. The hospital that Peet was being treated at was just a 1.5-hour drive away from our hospital. When the insurance company informed Peet that he could be treated at an international hospital in Shenzhen, Peet immediately asked to be moved. The emergency department and orthopaedic surgeons of Shenzhen United Family Hospital then contacted Peet by phone to ask whether he could endure the ride from Dongguan to Shenzhen.
“Adhering to the customer-centered service concept, we considered Peet’s situation as very urgent.” After emergency communication with doctors and insurance companies in our hospital, Peet was informed of the cost of surgery, hospitalization, diagnosis and treatment. Considering Peet’s apprehension about the cost, we urgently contacted the insurance company to apply for a letter of guarantee in advance. In order to facilitate his quick transfer and treatment, Weico, who heads the pre-authorization department at Shenzhen United Family Hospital, acted as the middleman, ensuring that the paperwork was efficiently handled. As an experienced expert in dealing with pre-authorization requests, Weico was also able to make arrangements to facilitate Peet’s urgent transfer to Shenzhen. “At the same time, we also arranged for an ambulance,” said Weico. After collecting the patient’s basic information and communicating with emergency doctors and orthopaedic surgeons at Shenzhen United Family Hospital, corresponding preparations with related departments such as radiology and inpatient ward started.
“When I reached the hospital and entered the emergency department, their nurses and doctors came to talk to me, which made me feel very safe,” said Peet, as he remembered arriving at United Family’s Emergency Department that day. “Very quickly, I did CT and MRI in the emergency department. I was admitted to the ward soon after.”
Radiology Imaging Equipments（Siemens Double-source Spiral CT, 3.0T MRI）
“CT examination showed fractures of thoracic 11, 12 and lumbar 1, and further diagnosis was made by MRI. We have offered two treatment options. One is to stay in bed for six weeks, and the other is to do minimally invasive internal fixation,” said Ren Wei, an orthopaedic surgeon at Shenzhen United Family Hospital. These options were proposed after extensive communication with the patient, taking into account his background, purpose of visiting China, and the limited time that he had left here. Even though Peet knew that having surgery as soon as possible was the best option for him, it was very difficult for him to make a decision to have surgery in a foreign country. He called his doctor in Belgium and explained in detail the diagnosis and treatment plan given by the orthopaedic team at our hospital. Peet’s doctors and family advised that surgery was indeed the best treatment for Peet and that it needed to take place immediately. “Belgian doctors told me that Chinese orthopaedic surgeons have more experience in surgery than they do, and there are more cases here.”
In order to enable patients to recover quickly after operation, we worked out a preoperative rehabilitation program with rehabilitation therapists before operation. The purpose of the program was to prevent muscle atrophy of lower limbs, exercise balance ability and prevent thrombosis. Adequate preoperative rehabilitation preparations can help patients achieve good results in postoperative rehabilitation. Ren Wei, an orthopaedic surgeon at Shenzhen United Family Hospital, said, “Every day, we arranged rehabilitation therapists to carry out rehabilitation training. Due to early intervention, the patient was discharged the day after the operation.”
“I had a very supportive and cooperative relationship with the rehabilitation team of doctors and therapists, who came every day and even on weekends.” With their help, my balance and muscle recovery were very effective,” said Peet, as he discussed his whole rehabilitation training process after the operation.
Ren Wei, an orthopaedic surgeon at Shenzhen United Family Hospital, said that he and Director Xia worked together to complete the operation. “The operation took an hour and a half, and we used a minimally invasive method, using eight screws and two titanium rods to fix it percutaneously.”
(Postoperative CT photo)
“According to the doctor, the surgical instruments used are the most advanced in the world. When I return to Belgium, doctors in my country also know how to remove screws, which is one of the reasons I chose to operate in China as soon as possible.” Apart from the operation itself, Peet was also satisfied with the services provided by the hospital. “Although I was by myself during the operation here, I never once felt alone. After the operation, I would ring the bell for just about anything I needed, and the nurses would come to help me. I never felt lonely or helpless. The nurses here can also communicate with me in English without any obstacles.”
Thanks Cards from Patient
Weico, who leads the pre-authorization department at Shenzhen United Family Hospital, took into account Peet’s plans to take long-distance flights and check in baggage after discharge. He also communicated with Peet’s insurance company in advance and made detailed arrangements, hoping to make Peet’s journey smooth and safe.
* To protect patients, clients use pseudonyms.