Just something I would like to share, based on my real personal experience.

18 Jan, Wed. Night. I had severe right upper quadrant (RUQ) abdomen pain and went to Ng Teng Feng (Jurong Hospital) A&E, and was warded for 1 day. They had originally suspected me to have a gallstone attack at A&E. I was given IV painkillers (Tramadol), did some ultrasound, sent me home with painkillers (more Tramadol) and then scheduled for a follow-up about a month later.

5 Feb, Sun. Night. I had a 2nd episode and did not go to the hospital. I took the painkillers (Tramadol) which was not much help.

8 Feb, Wed. Afternoon. Went for my follow-up appoint at NTFGH. Doctor (mis-)diagnosed me as having Gastritis (“Gastric”). I even double checked with the doctor TWICE and described my pain because when symptoms were not typical of Gastritis. He said I didn’t need my OGD (gastro scope) but I insisted to have it done to confirm it is Gastritis (or not). The OGD was scheduled on 13 Feb (Monday). Pay attention to this date.

8 Feb, Wed. Night. I had another episode (my 3rd). My episodes are getting more frequent. Once again, I took the painkillers (Tramadol) but they did not help.

9 Feb, Thurs. Afternoon. Sought private doctor opinion and was immediately diagnosed as having gallstones. Doctor said my described symptoms were obvious, but he did an ultrasound anyway to confirm.

12 Feb, Sun. Night. Had my 4th episode, which was more severe than the first 3. Note at this point, my 2nd, 3rd, 4th episodes all occurred within a week. Checked myself into Farrer Park Hospital. Was given morphine to reduce my pain, and a surgery was arranged for the following day.

13 Feb, Mon. Afternoon. Surgery done. Doctor said my gallbladder was already inflamed by the time I had my surgery, and was lucky to have done the surgery and not have it delayed otherwise it would have been more complicated if inflamed further.

Lesson learnt

Go straight to a specialist. Thankfully I sought 2nd opinion instead of waiting for atrociously long follow ups at NTFGH. Any further delays would have lead to complications. During a short period of 3 days (9 Feb – 12 Feb) I had immediate medical attention which was necessary. If I had a more serious condition, I could have possibly died from waiting. Realize that my surgery was done even BEFORE my scheduled appointment for the OGD at NTFGH. This is how slow the government hospitals are.

Bump your insurance coverage to the max. I had purchased only medical insurance coverage for up to Government Hospital (Private/Single Bed Wards) since a long time ago, when I was younger. I haven’t thought of upgrading it. My hospital and surgery bill came up to $20k. I had to pay $8k+ cash because I didn’t have full private hospital coverage. This is not including the money I already paid to NTFGH previously.