The Danish doctor Søren Andersen has been working in some of the biggest hospitals in Denmark. However, he hardly believed his own eyes when he was shown around in a private hospital in Thailand for the first time.
“I was very surprised by the conditions and the high standard. A lot of the hospital equipment are things we can only dream about having in Denmark. A hospital like Bangkok Pattaya Hospital is at least five or six years ahead,” explains the 55-year-old doctor.
As a young student Søren Andersen studied at the University of Copenhagen and never imagined that he would be working in Thailand later on. After his graduation he took all the necessary jobs as a surgeon at several Danish hospitals, until he finally got himself lined up for the position as a trainee at Aalborg Hospital, so he could become an specialist in orthopaedic. He was successful in the operating room, in which he specialised in surgery of feet and legs.
However, a private disaster occured in Søren Andersen’s life. Ten years ago he got divorced and was left alone with his two boys aged 12 and eight. He was still working hard at Hjørring Hospital when he in 2000 got hit by a stroke. The doctor was given the necessary treatment and rehabilitation and began to work again. He even opened his own sports clinic. Then he got hit by a second stroke. Now it was impossible to ignore the writing on the wall, and he used the opportunity to activate his pension insurance and retire.
“I was sitting in a wheelchair at my youngest son’s confirmation in our church. I was forced to admit that I would never be able to work on a normal basis again.”
The doctor has no doubt that his illness was stress related. And that was soon followed by a depression.
The solution came one day when Søren was watching TV. One of his favourite Danish authors, Ib Michael was telling about his wonderful life in Thailand which inspired Søren.
“I bought a backpacker journey at first class and landed in Thailand and checked in at Jomtien Boathouse.”
The place was owned by the Dane Ib Ottesen who said that he thought it possible to find work at one of the international hospitals in the Pattaya area.
“I went to Bangkok Pattaya Hospital, and they told me that they were actually in need of a medical consultant doctor to help the patients and the medical staff to communicate. I agreed to work part time for six weeks to begin with.”
Søren never forgets his first day at work.
“I appeared like a Scandinavian doctor in short pants, Hawaii shirt and sandals,” Søren Andersen remembers with a big smile.
He was however quick to grasp the message and spent the first working day standing very still, while a tailor took the necessary measures for proper clothing which is white shirts, black trousers and shoes.
“I was very happy working with patients. There was a real need for what I could do, namely to be intermediary between many of the Scandinavian patients and the Thai doctors and nurses. I also discovered how talented my Thai colleagues were. They know their craft and do many more surgeries than we do back home. Also the extremely high quality equipment, like the scans, has deeply impressed me,” Søren Andersen tells.
Unfortunately, when Bangkok Pattaya Hospital completed their new apartment building they increased their prices sharply. The hospital became too expensive and customers disappeared. There was no work for Søren, but then a Danish nurse told him that Baan Sabaijai in Pattaya was interested in having him linked to the Norwegian treatment home. So Søren got a part time job at Baan Sabaijai and signed a three months contract.
“I supervise and follow the development of the residents and patients. The actual medical examinations and treatment will be conducted at the Bangkok Pattaya Hospital,” says the doctor.
However, he is soon taking a break in Thailand to go back to Denmark in the autumn due to a large boxing tournament he has been asked to assist.
“Then I expect to establish myself permanently in Thailand. Because no matter how talented my Thai colleagues are I don’t think they will be able to speak Scandinavian to the patients. Hopefully, there will always be something that can keep me employed,” says Søren Andersen.