Sol and I spent five days or so going to the St Luke's diagnostics facility in Ermita. We're applying for immigration to New Zealand (prettier, less stressful than the U.S., among the least corrupt countries on earth, it's going to be a great place to raise a family). As part of that process, we both had to undergo a bunch of tests. I got some extra tests added on, so we had to spend more time there.
St Luke's has the best blood extractors I have ever met :-). Everytime I've had to have blood taken (including when I gave blood for my stepfather's surgery, when the med techs were very, very good) there's been a problem. At St Luke's too, there was a problem. It seems I have thick skin (the needle gets dull as it goes in) and the vein is shy (it moves away from the dull needle). But the med tech was very good. She stuck me in the right, the vein didn't like it, she stuck me on the left arm, and that worked very well. She was done before I knew it.
Overall, the service there is very good. One of my friends didn't like the way the staff told her where to go, but I think she was just being over sensitive. It's a very efficient system. I would get upset too if the system were inefficient, with to-ing and fro-ing in illogical and wasteful movements. But they really do have a very efficient system. Everyone knows exactly what to do, and they do it very well. Everyone is always pleasant too. As well they should be. I'm sure that St Luke's contract with the American, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand embassies for providing health screening services is very lucrative. I'm sure they put their best people there.
The system is also designed to be secure. As, again, it should be. Naturally, they don't want the records to be tampered with, or the doctors to be reached and influenced. They've got good safeguards in the system to make such tampering very difficult (nothing is impossible).
I had a hell of a time producing phlegm for the sputum test though. The doctors are very thorough and they added tests which, while someone else might have considered them unnecessary, if viewed objectively, were clearly easy to justify and not merely a matter of padding the bill (every test added to the costs, fortunately, we could cover those costs). I'd had lung damage a few years back, from a motorcycle accident. The doctors saw something suspicious in the lungs and, despite the knowledge of the accident, they ordered extra lung X-rays and the sputum test anyway. This was for detecting tuberculosis. Again, reasonable, and I have no quarrel with the choice. It would have been nice to have been spared, but it was understandable to have had that added on.
But again, I had a hell of a time producing the sample. One has to cough and produce sputum or "plema" from the lungs. And I had no lung problems (it had been perhaps 5 months since I last had a cough). I just couldn't produce anything. On the third day though (three samples are required, on consecutive days), I finally produced a good sample. I'd gotten a cold and a cough, perhaps from the cold airconditioning at St Lukes and at work, but also from being in the rain for a short while after work. So finally I coughed up something that looked like brains and that satisfied the medtechs.
All in all, I'm happy with St Luke's. It's a very good hospital, they have very, very good people there. It's expensive, but for this, and for things like Sol's ovarian cyst removal and upcoming giving birth, it's worthwhile.