Someone Get A Doctor
Prague's English-speaking clinics and emergency rooms.
It's a Sunday night in late January and my fever is reaching 104 degrees for the third day in a row. Sweat is rolling down my face, my legs are covered with little red dots and every time I close my eyes I hallucinate that I am in the middle of a Cops episode. My illness appears slightly more serious than what was diagnosed the day before as an ordinary infection by a doctor who knew about as much English as I know Czech.
My girlfriend Megan is freaking out because she doesn't know the emergency medical number in Prague. She can't call anyone anyway because our phone card is out of credits, we don't have a cell and we have no idea how to explain in Czech what is wrong with me.
Going to the hospital is out of the question. The only foreigner's clinic we know about (the one that apparently misdiagnosed me the day before) is an hour and a half away by public transport, and I'm so weak I could barely make it to the bathroom.
In desperation, Megan runs down to the corner pub. Luckily, one of the normally surly patrons at U Sadu lends her his phone and, two hours later, a pediatrician - yes, a doctor for children - is treating me for scarlet fever.
Fortunately, the doctor could speak English and four days later the medieval scourge had left my body. There was only one problem: It had taken Megan more than 20 minutes conversing with the emergency operator to get the phone number for the doctor. And she hadn't asked the operator for a doctor's number, let alone a pediatrician: She'd requested an ambulance.
This guide to the local medical services is to help people avoid similar misadventures. This should give you an idea of who to call the next time you're ill.
In an emergency, call 155, and an English-speaking operator should be provided. Ask for a doctor to come along with the ambulance, and good luck.
A few local clinics also provide emergency home visits by English-speaking doctors. The night of my winter crisis, Unicare s.r.o. sent over the pediatrician. The after-hours visit cost 6000 Kč. The total bill including medications and my other doctor's visit didn't even exceed my $250 American health insurance deductible.
International Medical Services also provide 24-hour emergency services in English.
These clinics offer a wide range of medical services in English. Most medical clinics will accept medical insurance and major credit cards, and many have an on-site pharmacy. It's a good idea to make an appointment before your visit, otherwise you could be waiting for hours.
Unicare provides child and adult services and has specialists in gynecology, orthopedics and general surgery.
International Medical Services offers a wide range of services in English, Spanish, Italian, Czech, Slovak and Russian. If they don't have the services on-site they will arrange for an English-speaking doctor at Czech facilities. You can access everything from acupuncture treatment to clinical psychiatrists fluent in English. The average cost for a regular visit is 1,800 Kč.
Na Homolce Hospital's foreigner's clinic compensates for an out-of-the-way location in far west Prague 5 by providing access to an array of services including general medical, surgery and rehabilitation. The staff speaks a number of languages, but English is not always the best of them. It's open 24 hours a day. A regular visit generally costs about 1000 Kč, slightly more on the weekends and after regular business hours. You will need to present your passport.
Canadian Medical Care provides primary care for children and adults. A basic check-up will cost about 1700 Kč, less for subsequent visits. You do not need to provide identification and if you don't have health insurance, you must pay the day of your visit.
Canadian Medical Care offers a gynecologist on staff by appointment only. The clinic also provides birth control pills that cost between 300 and 500 Kč per package. A doctor can prescribe them after an office consultation and they can be picked up from the on-site pharmacy.
The Prague Women's Health Center is a comprehensive women's clinic. They offer obstetrics and gynecological services on a 24-hour emergency basis to women of all ages. They also provide birth control pills at varying prices and can implant long-term contraception, as well as perform abortions. Home, hotel and office visits are possible. Bring a passport.
Canadian Medical Care and The Prague Women's Health Center can give you English-language materials and can test you for sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV. If there is a positive result, CMC's patients are referred to English-speaking counselors at Charles University.
For your dental needs, try the American Dental Associates. You can arrange an appointment through their website, and they provide a 24-hour emergency service.
Nemocnice na Homolce
Roentgenova 2 in P5
Tel.: 2 5721 1111
Hours: weekdays, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Canadian Medical Care
Veleslavinska 1 in P6
Tel: (+420) 235 360 133
Hours: Mon, Wed, Fri - 8:00 - 18:00;
Tue, Thu - 8:00 - 20:00
Sat - 9:00 - 14:00
International Medical Services
Konevova 31 in P3
Tel: 02 225 80 301
Emergency Tel: 602 289 361
Hours: weekdays, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Na dlouhem lanu 11 in P6
Tel: 420 2 3535 6553
Emergency Tel: 601 20 10 40 or 602 20 10 40
Hours: weekdays, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Prague Women's Health Center
Business & Lipa Medical Center Lipa
Seydlerova 2451 in P5
Emergency and Regular Tel: 2/5161 4686 or 603 810 076
Hours: weekdays, hours vary
American Dental Associates
V Celnici 4/1031 in P1
Regular and 24 hour Emergency
Tel: 420 2 2118 1121
Some useful Czech phrases:
Pomoc - "Help"
Potøebuji rychlou pomoc - "This is an emergency"
Zavolejte doktora - "Call a doctor"
Zavolejte sanitku - "Call an ambulance"
Nìkdo je v bezvìdomí - "Someone is unconscious"
Nìkdo krvácí - "Someone is bleeding"
Nìkdo upadl, omdlel - "Someone has fallen, fainted"
Nìkoho porazilo auto - "Someone has been hit by a car"
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