Doctors in Korea are highly respected, almost venerated, and as such are not used to answering patients’ questions or to providing an explanation of their treatment. Seeking a second opinion is not common and this may offend some doctors.
Doctors in international clinics are more accustomed to Western attitudes however and will probably more readily understand a patient’s wish to be actively involved in the process of diagnosis and treatment.
Some doctors, even those who have been trained abroad, still tend to give the worst case scenario, which sometimes shocks expat patients. Don’t panic: ask questions and use your best judgement regarding tests and treatments.
Note that Asians do not have the same sense of privacy as in the West; you may even be examined by a doctor in the presence of other patients. If this is an issue for you, you can ask to have a screen put up. Staff will usually comply where possible.
With so much to deal with before leaving your home country, (taxes, moving house, paperwork etc.) the careful planning of your expatriation to Seoul is an essential step. As far as healthcare is concerned, your local social security scheme won’t be accompanying you to your host country and, once abroad, you might be surprised by the care system you find in South Korea So, before leaving, make sure you have appropriate cover!
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