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Medical Procedures in Europe - Removal of Stitches

Medical Procedures in Europe - Removal of Stitches

Jul 3rd, 2007, 08:48 AM
  #1  
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Medical Procedures in Europe - Removal of Stitches

If any of you on the bulletin board have ever needed to have stitches removed while traveling in Europe, perhaps you can help. Those with other minor medical problems might also be able to relate to this question. Less than a week before we left for three weeks in Europe, my wife dropped a cinder block on her leg. It was a deep cut, requiring 10 or 11 stitches, but there was no muscle damage, so she was able to walk without much difficulty after the stitches were put in. We were told that the stitches would need to be removed in two weeks or so. We are coming up on stitch removal time, and we are in Bologna. We have been told we could go to the emergency room for this procedure. Tomorrow we will be driving to Interlaken, Switzerland. I know there is also a hospital in Interlaken. We're trying to decide whether we should risk an emergency room here in Bologna (emergency room visits are certainly not fun in the U.S.) or whether we should wait for service in a smaller town in Switzerland (where, I would guess, things won't be so busy). We're also wondering about how we pay (and how much we pay) for these sorts of services. Any feedback posted in response would be helpful. BTW, Bologna is a wonderful place.
Midnightsun is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2007, 09:10 AM
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I had stitches put in in the ER in Naples that i was told to take out ten days later.

I was in France and visiting relatives so went to the local doctor who took most of them out (he missed one that later dissolved on its own enough till i plucked it out)

But ER in Italy i found very nice - i also went to one in Florence to get a Tetanus shot - i had been given a prescription for a shot and when they gave me a needle to and told me to shoot myself in the rear i went to the ER instead to have it done.

ER in Naples, including ambulance ride (i fell flat on my face, causing my nose to bleede profusely) ER treatment, two doctors look at - no charge - not a penny and i guess this is the norm in Italian ERs

I thought the service and doctors were great and facilities though i did have to wait a bit in Florence.

I'd do it in Bologna, one of Italy's most academic towns with guaranteeably good doctors and no charge.

Swiss would be good too but i'm afraid you may have to pay a lot there.

Certainly don't fear getting good medical attention in Italy - my experiences were top notch.

In Florence i also went to pharmacy and got name of private doctors who would have done it - but hours were inconvenient so i waited about 90 mins at ER.
PalenQ is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2007, 09:18 AM
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Why on earth would you NOT go to an emergency room in Bologna? Have you looked at the quality of other public services in Reggio-Emila?

I went to one in Poggibonsi (in Tuscany, which doesn't put as much bsessive comment into public anythiung as Reggio-Emilia) a bit over a year ago. In fact, I went on their busiest day ever, when half the rest of tjhe town had slipped and broken bones as well after a freak snowfall and sudden refreeze. So I had to wait - oh, at least 15 minutes. The care was outstanding, the speed impressive and the bill - there wasn't one. Though they might simply have assumed that with my English accent, I was entitled to free treatment, no-one did anything to check.

True my local bloke back home would have treated the problem differently and had the time of his life taking the Mick out of the Italians for overeacting. But on the basis of that experience (and similar in Lombardy a few years earlier) I can't even begin to imagine anyone hesitating for a nanosecond.

Whatever do you think might happen?
flanneruk is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2007, 09:24 AM
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If they are plain old cloth or nylon stitches, not staples or any other newfangled device, and you are sure the healing is complete, why not remove them yourself? Use tiny scissors to cut, and a tweezer to pull, wipe with alcohol before and after -- I've done it, easy and painless.

It is not a medical procedure; going to an ER would be an abuse for such a simple task. If you are not willing to do it yourself, have your hotel refer you to a private doctor.
kayd is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2007, 09:26 AM
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rex
 
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Okay... so I was raised a doctor's kid... but from the time I was about 14 yrs old, I think that I viewed the removal of stitches as roughly the same complexity as the (normal) removal of a pierced earring. A little delicate, perhaps, but easily accomplished with any manicure scissors, or even fingernail clippers (not that you use scissors to remove an earring! just hard to come up with the right analogy).

As with the removal of a pierced earring, this assumes that are no signs of infection: redness, tenderness, oozing, odor. Those would be, of course, reasons to visit an emergency room, regardless of how many days since they were put in.

Best wishes,

Rex
rex is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2007, 09:28 AM
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well yes you can easily remove stitches but i think only a doctor could tell if there were complications, etc and that the stitching was successful. I'd go to the ER - as flanner says jives with my experience - excellent modern care. I would not consider it an abuse of ER a'tall IMO
PalenQ is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2007, 09:35 AM
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You can go to the ER in Bologna, no problem at all.
kenderina is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2007, 09:38 AM
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The ER's will probably be wonderful in either of the two places you mentioned.
WE had a very positive experience at an ER while traveling in Switzerland~~~ wonderful, clean, prompt, English spoken etc. I'd go on to Interlaken, however I feel very sure you'd be fine having them taken out in Lovely Bologna.
REmoval of stitches is a "piece of cake", but a good idea to have a medical person look at the wound!
mari5 is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2007, 09:45 AM
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oops forgot. I am unfamilar with payment in these two countries (our Switzerland visit was Too many years ago, involving our son!),
I do know however that sometimes there is courtesy of no charge to U.S. (or other travelers)
My husband fell in Italy the day before we were leaving for home in U.S., (with a 3 day stopover in London). Woke up again the second morning in London dizzy(concussion)...so we taxied to a hospital in London. Nice ER, wonderful Drs. ...and they put our mind at ease about the head bump!
THERE WAS NO CHARGE, Dr. called it a "courtesy'....
IT was the very day the war in Iraq broke out!!! (did that have a bearing)? I don't think so!
mari5 is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2007, 10:17 AM
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On bike trips i used to organize thru England we had several trips to ER and no one was ever charged - hospitals typically would say they should charge but had no facility for doing so.

Seemed same way in Italy - no cashiers, etc. Am sure we are not entitled to free ER care but de factoly get it - thank god - would have run about a grand at home with ambulance, etc.
PalenQ is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2007, 10:36 AM
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You are probably safer in a Western or Central European clinic or hospital than a similar one in the USA. If you can afford it seek out a private operation. Bring along a bottle of good spirits! Another EU custom to ensure or thanks extra for service.
GSteed is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2007, 10:50 AM
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IN the UK no one is charged for emergency treatment. And I think there are similar rules in the rest of Europe

BUT

taking stitches out is not an emergency so you may have to wait.

Book in with a nurse or local doctor.
sashh is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2007, 09:10 PM
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Thanks for all the suggestions. We are off to the emergency room in Bologna. I have no reservations about the quality of medical care here in Bologna, given the tradition of medical excellence enjoyed by the city. My qualms had more to do with the emergency room experience, which, back in the states, can be harrowing. The folks at the front desk in our hotel (Novocento) seemed to think the emergency room option would allow us more flexibility than waiting to fit in to the schedule of a private physician. We did consider the option of doing this without a doctor and even packed a suture removal kit, but this was a pretty ugly gash, and my wife wants to have a medical person look at the healing to assure her there is no infection or other complication. I also don't think she was too terribly impressed by my experience with stitch removal (when I was in grad school I snipped two stitches from a friend's finger a couple of weeks after he'd had a wart removed). If our next hotel has an internet connection, I'll post a report.
Midnightsun is offline  
Jul 4th, 2007, 01:46 AM
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>>>Bring along a bottle of good spirits! Another EU custom to ensure or thanks extra for service.<<<<

You must be kidding.
elina is offline  
Jul 4th, 2007, 01:57 AM
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>>>Bring along a bottle of good spirits! Another EU custom to ensure or thanks extra for service.<<<<

You must be kidding.

I am afraid not !!!!!
Pvoyageuse is offline  
Jul 4th, 2007, 02:00 AM
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Thats one EU custom I've never heard of...(Irish living in Brussels - having lived in France, Italy and Germany)
Lawchick is offline  
Jul 4th, 2007, 02:12 AM
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That used to be a custom in the Sovietunion but I have never heard of it anywhere else in Europe, and I have lived most of my adult life in Europe. If there is a fee, that is expected, nothing else. Doctors and nurses can buy their liquers all by themselves.
elina is offline  
Jul 4th, 2007, 02:25 AM
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Giving medics "presents" is something we occasionally have to do in Romania, where they're still disgracefully underpaid.

In developed Europe - which most certainly includes Bologna - doing so would be as crass and offensive as GSteed's post.

Doubtless GSteed has the misfortune to live somewhere adequate public services aren't available and thinks the rest of the world is as backward.
flanneruk is offline  
Jul 4th, 2007, 02:41 AM
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To ensure or thanks extra for service say "please" before and "thank you" afterwards.
Anything else seems poor taste to me.
lobo_mau is offline  
Jul 4th, 2007, 02:51 AM
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If you are charged for the stitch removal, keep the bill, and you may be able to claim it back from your health insurance company. Some may not cover treatment overseas (mine does). Of course if you have travel health insurance then submit to them.
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