A Brief Encounter with the Spanish Medical Establishment

Medical stories abroad are always entertaining after the event, during they can pretty much be a hellish experience. It is of course for this reason why I am always recommending that anyone who goes traveling should have solid travel insurance and a failure to do so will cause you a great deal of problems should something go wrong.

Recently I was staying in Sevilla and I was out with some friends and whilst I did have a touch of Sangria, I must stress that I was not inebriated. I fell over on a cobbled stone and cut my hand on a piece of glass that had been strewn, nothing major, all it needed was a good clean and a little bandage. I got home that night and did just that, but in the coming days the cut began to look angry, slightly yellow and swollen, I was worried about an infection and so to the doctors I went.


The large majority of healthcare in Spain is private and so it took me a while to find an A&E where I could show my insurance documents, the costs I must say from some of the private clinics I called ranged from 200 -500 Euros, just to see a doctor.


When I got to the hospital it was all a bit manic, I wasn’t sure actually whether or not there had been some major incident but as I had forgotten, it was Friday night which as we know is very much happy hour in the emergency room. After registering at the desk and showing both the cut and my insurance documents I was asked to wait for 5 minutes, which very slowly became an hour and 43 minutes, then I was called. I asked why it had taken so long and apparently it hadn’t, they had called my name twice and I was unaware, good old Spanish pronunciation catching me out there, imagine if I was in more severe shape and had lost my life on account of poorly understanding my own name, now that would be a story to tell in heaven.

My suspicions were true and the very kind doctor informed me that it was in fact an infection and that antibiotics would be required. Again this became slight tricky because after muddling through in broken Spanish and a touch of accidental Portuguese, I discovered that the doctor could in fact speak wonderful English, and I was not, as he suspected, Swedish.

I left the hospital around 2 hours after walking in, armed with a script for some antibiotics and everything worked out fine. I have to say that the attention I was given was great and contrary to what I thought, they did deal with me rather swiftly.

Sadly however, this was a medical experience which actually doesn’t make for the best story, perhaps in the future I should say that I cut my hand saving the life of a small infant, that should do the trick.