Hospitals in Italy

May 29th, 2009, 07:28 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2009
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Hospitals in Italy

I am suppose to go to Italy in 11 days with my 17 year old daughter for 2 weeks. I just spent a week in the hospital with a bleeding ulcer. Now I am very nervous about going to Italy in case I have a problem there and need to go to the hospital. We will be going to Rome,Sorrento, Florence and Venice with a few side trips to Capri and Positano.
Any Ideals on how to find well qualified hospitals with english speaking doctors?
I am more worried about what would happen to my daughter if I had to go to the hospital and she was left on her own in a country that is not english speaking. Even though she has traveled with the family a fair amount of times she has not been to Europe.
I worry that if I am in the hospital and the hotel room reservations run out and the hotel is booked that she won't have a place to stay.
Do you think that most hotels would help her out?
We are staying in smaller hotels in most places that got high marks on Trip Advisor.
She is a very smart girl but on the quiet side. I am a retired nurse so I can usually hold my own in a medical situation.Also my husband could be there the next day to take care of her.
I will be going to the doctor about a week before I go to get checked out that I am stable but this is a kind of medical problem that can total heal up with no problem or all of a sudden act up. I was in the hospital for 3 days --got discharged and then after 1 day had to go back because it started to bleed again.
I am on enough medication to kill a horse so that should help but I am still nervous. I don't know whether to go or not. I hate to disappoint my daughter. It's very likely that I can heal up with no problems and then I would have canceled for nothing.
My daughter is going away to college in August so we really can't postpone this.
If I don't feel good or the doctors says not to go I won't but I think that when I go to the doctors next week that everything will be stable and then I have a big decision to make.
Sorry for such a long post but thanks for letting me get it out of my system. Any help/ ideals you have will be greatly appreciated. Thanks Kathy
nomadwoman1 is offline  
May 29th, 2009, 08:00 AM
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Here's some information on English speaking doctors in Italy:

You could also think about buying medical evacuation insurance.

If your daughter has an ATM card, I would think she would be fine if something happened. We just cancelled a trip to Croatia because of health issues. It is a very hard choice to make. Good luck with your decision!
Digbydog is offline  
May 29th, 2009, 08:04 AM
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There's no such thing as an Italian hospital that's not up to its job. It's just possible the French run hospitals better - but France apart, Italy probably has more or less the best hospitals on the planet.

Just go to the nearest hospital if anything goes wrong. There'll be no difficulty finding doctors who understand English. But their understanding of written English will be better than their spoken English, so if it helps your peace of mind, get your local chap to give you a written description of your problem.

DON'T waste time or energy if anything goes wrong seeking non-Italians' advice about the "best" place to go. The best source of advice on getting better in Italy is the nearest Italian doctor.
flanneruk is offline  
May 29th, 2009, 08:05 AM
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I fell down in Naples and hit my head hard and my nose was bleeding like a gusher - anyway ambulance took me to local hospital where there were enough English speakers on the staff to make communication no problem. I went to ER in Florence a few days later for check up and same there - i don't think you will find that no one speaks English in hospitals - most doctors seemed to know some

and the medical care IMO was SUPERB (and also free, including ambulance ER doctor, stitches, X-rays, etc. - no charge)

In Florence there is also a private medical office with English speaking doctors - i asked at the Tourist Office in the train station.

As for hotels helping your daughter that i think would be hard for anyone to say.

But if you need medical care i can vouch for Italian hospitals being IMO top notch.
Palenque is offline  
May 29th, 2009, 08:25 AM
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Hello nomadwoman, oh my, I think I would be inclined to cancel the trip but I am not in the medical profession as you are.

I am sure if you haven't purchased medical and evacuation insurance at the time you purchased your airline tickets or shortly thereafter you would not be able to do so now, especially for coverage for an exsisting medical problem.

I will say if I had to admitted to a hospital in Italy I would hope it would be a hospital located in the north. I would really not want to be admitted to one south of Rome. I do know a doctor in Florence but he doesn't speak a word of English and his speciality is not what you would need. If you do take the trip I would sure print out the website that Digbydog kindly posted and it does give a good list of English speaking doctors around Italy including their medical background.

How does your daughter and husband feel about all this?

I imagine at this point you will just take a wait and see approach until next week. I sure send you my best wishes that your condition will stabalize and that you and your daughter can procede with your Italy plans, Kathy.
LoveItaly is offline  
May 29th, 2009, 09:32 AM
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I've been to a hospital in Italy and did have to wait a bit until they located a doctor that spoke English. No one on the front desk spoke English, but they did find a guy in emergency that did. The x-ray techs didn't speak any English either, but we with my limited Italian I understood what they wanted me to do.

The best part about Italy is most hotels will call a doctor to come to your hotel that speaks English.
kybourbon is online now  
May 29th, 2009, 09:59 AM
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As for hospitals in southern Italy i could not be happier with the ER in the Naples Hospital not far from the train station.

A first-class operation IMO
Palenque is offline  
May 29th, 2009, 10:40 AM
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Your daughter is 17, she is almost an adult, not a child. She may be quiet and reserved but you say she is smart and I am sure she would manage just fine if the worst case scenario happened. And if as you say your husband would be there within 24 hours then she would not be on her own for long.

In hotels in the places you are going there is bound to be someone who speaks some English. If not it is surprising what you can convey with sign language and they will find someone who can translate if need be. Hell, just go into the street and ask passers-by if they speak English! Plenty of people will. Take a phrase book or Italian dictionary with you as well. If you are in hospital she may be able to stay with you. Hotels will store luggage, and often do.

After all, you are imagining the worst, everything may be absolutely fine (and I hope it is) and you both have a wonderful time together. But unless your doctor advises you against it, if you feel up to it then GO and have fun.

BTW, have you talked to your daughter about this, and asked how she feels about it if things go wrong? I know my teenage daughter (just 18, but she'd have said the same thing 2 years ago as well!) would say let's go and we'll cope somehow if we have to.
julia_t is offline  
May 29th, 2009, 10:49 AM
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Spent many moons in hospitals in a small city in the Abruzzo accompanying students in my care. Rarely had any trouble with the English issue, though I absolutely agree on the idea to take a WRITTEN description of your condition: you don't want to force your daughter into a care-giver role in a stressful moment and you can't count on being well enough to articulate your difficulties calmly in an emergency.

But I would not be very happy with the aftermath of an emergency admittance...the kind of condition you describe is one that could force you to stay in hospital for several days and that is where the Italian medical system breaks down rather badly. Nursing is not the omni-present caring situation it is in NA (in part, because all the best nurses have been poached).

You (and your family) are expected to do much more for yourself if you have to be admitted to hospital. This works well in Italy where the family system is so strong, but it would put your daughter in a very difficult position.

And then surely your having a pre-existing condition that would nullify any medical insurance? isn't this a rather expensive risk? is there no option for postponement? going away to college doesn't mean you will never see her again...

I don't mean to come across like Dora-Doom but I would be very inclined to cancel until that bleeding ulcer was totally under control for some time...this kind of trip is hardly conducive to healing.
LJ is offline  
May 29th, 2009, 11:14 AM
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Pal, emergency care is usually good. But as LJ has posted..staying in a hospital is not always so good. Speaking as one that knows more than I want to due to my Roman born and bred son-in-law's father being in a hospital in Italy for over a month before he died and my son-in-law's mother being in and out of hospitals for decades before she died. And also due to close friends in Italy, a pharmacist, a doctor etc.

My husband received emergency care in Italy also..wonderful care. But again that is a different type of situation then having a medical problem where one has to be hospitalized for days.

And as LJ said, family members or "someone" will be expected to be more involved with hour to hour care then here in the US. The hospitals I know about are usually not airconditioned either..that can be a miserable situation in the middle of the high heat/humidty season.

Not trying to be negative (Dora_Doom, love that description LJ!) but unless one is familar at least somewhat with hospitals in Italy I would not encourage any Fodorite to go to Italy with a serious health problem until they know for sure they have a clean bill of health from their doctor and when they feel strong and healthy.

Each person has to make their own decisions, and live with the results of course.
LoveItaly is offline  
May 29th, 2009, 11:29 AM
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The last half of this posted article addresses the hygeine problems in some hospitals in Italy in 2007. Information for anyone that is interested. Hopefully the hygeine problem is not as prevelant now. It was quite a scandal two years ago needless to say. I haven't had a discussion with anyone in Italy since that time period.
LoveItaly is offline  
May 29th, 2009, 11:31 AM
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Of course I meant I haven't had any discussions regarding this subject matter since that time period..lots of discussions with friends in Italy about a multitude of other subjects. I do wish we had a way to edit our posts at least for ten minutes after hitting "Submit", lol.
LoveItaly is offline  
May 29th, 2009, 04:27 PM
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Have you thought about the possibility of your husband going on the trip instead?
Dayle is offline  
May 29th, 2009, 04:59 PM
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Hi there - I am so sorry you are dealing with this. In the spring of 2007 our daughter got ill with a variety of issues and her Dr. did not want her traveling to South Africa - we were going Paris for a few nights - S.A for 2 weeks and then Rome for a few nights. We ended up canceling the S.A portion after much distress and going only to Europe. We did seek out medical care for her in Florence and I have to say it was WONDERFUL. I have had to get medical care for her on both of our trips to Europe - once in Florence and once in Paris and I was 100% impressed and am not easily so. The care we received was excellent.

Your concern about your daughter is a bit of a different one. I was going to take youngest to Europe with me for an extended trip and one of my concerns was if something were to happen to me - how would she be - not knowing the language etc. I did get two phones from Call in Europe - and this way dd would be able to call home with no issues and not much stress. You will not be unable to speak if you are admitted and so I think really your daughter will be fine. It will be stressful of course not as planned but it could be worked through.

Some of our best laughs at this point are of dd's trips to the ER in Paris and the ride there (another thread!) and us hunting for ER in Florence. I know that sounds morbid but often the mishaps make for a good telling later. (Not that your situation is not serious so please do not think I am trying to make light of it).

I wish your daughter the best of luck in August and hope all works out for you both.
MomDDTravel is offline  
May 29th, 2009, 05:16 PM
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First - has your doctor cleared you for travel? You should check with him before even considering a trip like this.

Second, major hospitals in Italy are excellent - and many doctors speak English. In case of emergency your hotel and/or the American embassy or consulate can reco which hospital to go to. (Just like here some are better than others.)
nytraveler is offline  
May 31st, 2009, 04:26 PM
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Thanks everyone for your help and well wishes.I really appreciate it. There were a lot of points brought up that I had not thought of.

First of all I have my doctors appointment Wednesday and he has to clear me. I trust him to give me good advice and if he does not think that I should go then I won't.

I can't get medivac insurance because it is a pre-existing condition.
I am not worried about getting medical care in Italy because I am sure it is good.
When I was in the hospital I was able to take care of most of my care myself. I was weak when my blood counts were low but after some blood I was fine.
Also,I was home probably for 10-12 hours before I went to the hospital when I was bleeding internally so I should be able to get things squared away with my daughter if I had too.
I am just looking at the WORST case scenario. There is a great chance i can go and not have any problems
My husband can't go because he just started a new job about 8 months ago and can't get the time off
My daughter says she's ok with the situation.She said she would go with me to the hospital if she could. Like I said earlier I really wasn't that incapacitated with this at the time but yet I know this can be a serious situation.
If we go we will get a cell phone.
I just have a very difficult decision to make that I wish I didn't have too. Thanks again. Kathy
nomadwoman1 is offline  
Jul 9th, 2013, 01:13 AM
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I would like to suggest you to visit this website has an accurate selection of Hospitals in all of Europe where the English is not a problem. I would like to mention that the Italian healthcare system ranked second in the world in a World Health Organization (WHO) report in 2000 in respect to fairness and public accessibility.

Mdepasquale is offline  
Jul 9th, 2013, 02:45 AM
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Um - this trip was 4 years ago.
nytraveler is offline  
Jul 9th, 2013, 03:08 AM
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nytraveler - well observed! And why wasn't there a follow up from OP?

but just to throw a cat amongst the pigeons I would rather be treated in a public/state hospital in Italy than the UK.
nochblad is offline  

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