Broken Ankle/Hospitalisation - my experience

Jurgen

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Hello friends, I am considering trips to Vietnam, maybe even this year, and I am keen to follow all information. It seems that the country becomes more and more popular with bikers and these readings are excellent preparations. Looking forward to more, also a Sapa report from David.
 

blackb15

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Oct 11, 2009
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Rod
That's a really intresting post and comments I hope to be over in November and food for thought re hiring a bike their
Thanks and safe riding
Paul
 

Rod Page

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Check this guy out riding his bike with only 1 foot whilst he takes off his top & using his mobile. With thousands just like him riding all over the poorly repaired roads is there any wonder some of us have accidents.......


The guy rode for ages with just one foot (no hands) - taking off his jacket, using his mobile......police trcaked him down via his number plate. He was fined $336 for the effort!
 

TonyBKK

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Dec 27, 2007
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Rod Page;285004 wrote: Check this guy out riding his bike with only 1 foot whilst he takes off his top & uses his mobile. With thousands just like him & guys all over the poorly repaired roads is there any wonder some of us have accidents.....


The guy rode for ages with just one foot (no hands) - taking off his jacket, using his mobile......police trcaked him down via his number plate. He was fined $336 for the effort!
555! That's great! US$336?! :wtf:
 

Rod Page

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Its a year to the day tomorrow since the accident, the time it takes an 'elite athlete's' ankle to fully heal; clearly the basis upon which I am furnishing this update.

Basically all's well. I miss a little in the flexibility but am not hampered by the break. My brother had a similar break whilst playing rugby. An operation followed with some metal being inserted. Despite the differences in our ages at the time of the accident the outcomes seem quite similar.

As matters stand it would still appear wise to have proper insurance in place (which demands an acceptable licence whilst riding in Vietnam) to be aware of which hospital/s you wish to be admitted to along your travels & to have an 'agent' - thanks again Hang - ready to assist you.

Safe travels.
 

Rod Page

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It's now a couple of years since this thread was first posted, a couple of years since the ankle was broken.

Each morning I run along Matira Beach here in Bora Bora & although it would be untrue to say I have not lost flexibility in the joint I can truly say there is no pain, no inconvenience.

I have a brother who broke an ankle playing rugby. It was a clean break & the injury protected by a full boot. As is most often the case it seems in the west it was treated via intrusive surgery. It was a good result but I remain intrigued by the fact that my result would appear better than his, especially as my ankle was facing almost backwards after impact with the bitumen.

I'm not a doctor (but have had experience with many broken bones) & I know its difficult for the laymen patient to make the call as to whether surgery is required or not, but I felt I needed to post this simply to indicate that from my experience there is great wisdom in only having surgery as the ultimate last resort.

In writing this another truth just 'hits you in the face' - this was a brilliant ride by any standards, irrespective of any mishaps. This sensational adventure ride certainly trumped any chance of there being even a moment's reflection as to the safety of riding motorbikes, as to the time to hang up the helmet. Check it out for yoursleves at https://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/36183-NORTHERN-VIETNAM-The-Ultimate-Trip-(broken)
 

Wald0

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Sep 7, 2013
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Really bad luck! actually I was today very close Vinh today, but on Ho Chi Minh highway, what is by the way excellent road!
Little traffic and I was planning to head back to hanoi via highway 1, but decided to turn around and go back same way I got there.

I have read that it is very busy road and that means little slow so did not fancy driving back when it was dark.

End result was little over 600km what was my longest bike trip in Vietnam.

As to that medical bribery. It is still going on! last year my Father-in-law had to go hospital here in Hanoi and every time he went to see doctor he had envelope with him and I was told that if doctor is not happy they might not help you or worse give you wrong treatment!

Same time I witnessed situation where elderly man had suffered some stroke and was hospitalised many weeks already and one evening they said to the relatives to come pick him up as they believed that he will not survive, and they did not want to keep him there anymore, family had to peg staff to be able rent oxygen bottle for him.
 

Rod Page

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I have friends coming to Vietnam to work as NGO's in the central highlands. Although the trip reports on the forum have helped them determine where they wish to ride this particular post raised many questions for them.

Living as I do on a tropical island in the midst of the South Pacific I was unable to help them but knowing the speed at which things are developing in Vietnam I thought I'd put out the feelers to see if anyone had further information which would assist in updating this report????
 

hs0zfe

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Aug 31, 2009
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After my motorcycle accident, where a speeding Ford Transit van used to transport passengers destroyed my motorcycle and threw me over the top to the other side of the street, the driver took off pdq. Claiming that I had somehow <fallen off> all by myself. There had been a loud bang...

TBH, I can't explain what happened. There were wounds all over my body, including the belly. But somehow, while my calf muscles were hurt by the bike being pushed sideways (I was at a 80 degrees angle when the van, speeding on the wrong side of the road, hit me) and downwards, I was thrown  o v e r  the van and landed on the other side of the road.

Anyhow, all friends to whom I complained were adamant that one should never (!) call the Police!

A week later, a friend treated my wounds by the side of the road. A man appeared and he asked questions. Turns out he was a policeman. They visited my employer who denied the whole incident......

The doctor wouldn't even use the backlit viewer for the x-rays. (I think there were hair fractures as the pain lasted long weeks). The fee was higher than Rod's (main hospital near the bus station - visible as the highest building around). And the owner of the company came along to pay that hospital's fee.

I paid for the motorcycle as it belonged to my employer...

Chris
 

Rod Page

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Thanks for taking the time to give some input into this important subject – attempting to give those involved in a serious accident some guidance as to the best steps to take.

The riding in VN is sensational & likely to attract more & more travelers but the risks are enormous as are a myriad of other problems including language problems & an approach to medicine & hospitalization that is anything but that which most riders would be expecting.

I think Chris’s report tends to confirm the wisdom of what I have always advocated – that when riding in VN it’s best to do so with an ‘agent’ (someone who is a local, who understands the ‘system’ & has a relatively good understanding of how to get things done). To do so is not expensive & does not detract from your independence.

I think those constantly looking to take ‘their bike’ into VN should weigh up other considerations. Using the services, as I did, of a knowledgeable local (in my case Hung & Hang at Flamingo Travel) made an enormous difference to my trip & my stay in VN. In fact it made my travels there the best in all SE Asia.
 

hs0zfe

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Aug 31, 2009
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Thank you for sharing - you have helped many fellow riders invaluable information!

Earlier this year, I was in hospital and operated on. Anaesthetics were administered adequately and lying under 2 huge extremely bright lights, I didn't suffer. But they had strapped me to a gurney as if it was for a lethal injection.

Getting admitted was a major headache, but it was an emergency and let's just say that I owe a Vietnamese doc for life.

At the ward, there were  s t r a n g e r s  coming to play, talk and grab any vacant bed to spend the night. Some ven smoked right outside the room! One couple (the husband shared the bed - it's not like the hospital is asking 2 patients to share a bed) brought their damn radio and wailing chinese music was getting on my nerves. They would leave it on and go to sleep!!!

Was woken up by some bum who was snoring loudly - WTH was he doing among the patients?!?

...

Doctors are deadly afraid and try to be perfectionists. You should have seen the prescription!  They wanted me to buy a diagnostics device! It took persuasion to get them agree to the operation. And the hierarchical structure was amazing. The big boss would rush in and make decisions, not the underling who has been doing the job. If I was that big boss, I wouldn't care to get briefed and then be the poser who says what will happen (based on some other doctor's assessment).

The bill? I was surprised and got a huge cash refund. No credit cards. Was trying and failing to get my insurance to provide some guarantee for the payment. Had to get on motorcycle taxis and ride from ATM to ATM to draw the 2 M VND limit most ATMs had. (VIETCOM BANK's fee was a fraction at 20,000. Hope this helps y'all)

Have deep respect for what they did medically. Top notch drugs, but forget the notion of care for patients like washing them.
 

Rod Page

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Though not wishing to downplay the ordeal through which you went your post would tend to indicate that in VN you have good medical help available as well as appropriate medications. This was certainly my experience as well. Futhermore, your report indicates that your medical coverage recognises the above in terms of reimbursing (the more than reasonable) charges for such medical attention.

If it is any consolation those riding in VN can take heart from the fact that in Hanoi alone there are 16 million motorcycles. Those of us that have been in hospital there following an accident know the volumes of injured riders, the great majority of which have broken bones - when I was in Viet Duc they were literally wheeled in in the 100s each day! There were never less than 25 orthopaedic surgeons on at any one time. These volumes & in the interest of good medical practice see the doctors discussing each & very case amongst themselves at the beginning/end of each shift & referring key issues onto the more senior practitioners. I have no issue with that.

In summary I feel that the doctors are well qualified & have an extensive range of experience. Access to quality drugs & medications is readily available. The confusion that one faces in VN - & it can present significant difficulties for riders - is one of culture, one of administrative proceedures but this will not detract from your treatment if you have someone/a knowledgeable local 'in your corner'. (I also found speaking French, where many of the surgeons were trained, was most useful).

You mentioned the difficulties that can (or will) be encountered in being admitted & I wholeheartedly agree. You also covered the cultural issue of the Vietnamese not understanding the need to respect the private space of others....fair enough we are riding in VN after all. These are issues where I found that the only satisfactory way through was to have a local ready to intervene on your behalf (an 'agent' as I call it).

The real point here is for riders to undertake due diligence before riding in another (any other) country. Its very much a case of 'rider beware' if you ride in 'gung ho' ill prepared.