Just going to a doctor or hospital here is different from what is normal practice in America. Here a doctor has his hours posted and it is a first come, first serve basis. Then if the doctor is late, has an operation or even needs to do hospital rounds, you just wait. If you need lab tests, you go to the lab, wait for the results and bring them back to the doctor.
If you are admitted to the hospital, you need to have watchers available. A watcher is a friend or family member that will take shifts staying with you in the hospital room. If your doctor prescribes a medicine, the watcher will take money and go to the pharmacy in the hospital to have it filled. If the hospital is out of the drug, your watcher will have to go to a pharmacy that has that drug in stock.
When it is time to be released, if the doctor is not on duty and is unavailable to come in, you will need to stay an additional day until the doctor can sign your release. Another doctor is not allowed to sign your release, unless arraignments were made to sign your release.
An expat I knew had a heart attack and went to Davao Doctors Hospital. Davao Doctors hospital is supposed to have the best cardiac care unit in Davao. A day hours after his surgery, I am not sure how long actually, he died. I do not know the complete story.
Some think about moving to the Philippines and live in the Provinces. They like the fact it is more rural and quiet and a lot cheaper to live there. The problem moving to a remote area is services such as landline phone, internet, shopping and medical. Even the urban areas in the Provinces can have less in availability and services.
I have a friend who spends the weekdays in Davao and the weekends with his wife and child in the Provinces. The area he lives is next to Kidapawan, which is more like a small city. A week ago, he felt pain in his lower abdomen. He went Saturday morning to the doctor and the doctor prescribed some medicine. The next morning his pain became sever and went to the hospital. He was suffering from Diverticulitis and it looks like it became infected and burst. His blood pressure was extremely low and the needed to operate. As I was told, because of the low blood pressure, they were afraid of using anesthesia so they operated on his intestines while he was conscious. The hospital needed some medicine that was only available in Davao and before it arrived, my friend passed away.
Since most of the expats that move to the Philippines are in their retirement ages, we need to realize that as we get older, more medical problems can develop. Will your problem be able to be cared for correctly here? What happens if it cannot? These are things to consider, especially if you are not living in a more developed city.