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Surgery in Germany: I have questions!

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frigidfire86 posted 5/12/2014 14:16 PM

My husband is in the Army and we've been in Germany for about a year. I've been having issues ever since I had the Essure procedure a couple years ago and, after being seen on post at the clinic, I was referred to a German hospital. I had my very first off post appointment today. The doctor did an ultrasound and then scheduled me for a hysterectomy next week. He didn't speak great English and it was difficult understanding everything he said, even after having it repeat things several times. I've never had surgery before. I've never even had stitches. My first experience with this is in a foreign country and it's more than a little terrifying. I thought it was odd that he saw me for only 15 minutes and was ready to cut me open. Not that I don't want the hysterectomy (I do), but in the states it took forever for my husband to actually have surgery because of all the pre-op appointments he had to go to. So, if anyone here can give some insight as to what it's like to have surgery in Germany I would really appreciate it. How are German hospitals different from American hospitals? Is it true I'll be in the hospital longer than I would if I was in the states? What should I bring with me? Do they send patients home with pain killers and, if so, would I get the script filled on post or not? My husband and daughter can visit, right? Wasn't the doctor supposed to explain the risks and all that, or is that something he'll do right before I go to the OR? Please tell me everything you know, even the tiniest, insignificant details.

annb posted 5/12/2014 14:21 PM

No medical education here, but I would personally seek another opinion.

Maybe you need the surgery, but I would not let anyone touch me without answering all of my questions. You need to have the utmost confidence in your doctor.

[This message edited by annb at 2:21 PM, May 12th (Monday)]

Lucky2HaveMe posted 5/12/2014 14:22 PM

I don't have any experience, but do you have a dr in the US that could help with your understanding of what the procedure involves, etc?

maxandsen posted 5/12/2014 15:26 PM

If you don't get the advice here try the expats blogs they are a great source of helpful info.

I lived next door in Denmark for several years and from what I have heard you should get great care in most German hospitals.

Speedy recovery

fraeuken posted 5/12/2014 17:36 PM

frigidfire86, I am German, albeit living in the US but my father who is still in Germany has had many procedures done.

As to some of your questions:

Yes, you will be able to receive visitors. There are usually visiting hours and they should be adhered to so that patients get the rest they need and to allow for daily doctor visits and treatments.

Yes, you can expect to stay possibly a little longer than in a US hospital.

Unless you are a 'private patient' with extra insurance coverage, you can expect to share your room with at least one other patient.

If you feel you want a second opinion, get one!

A lot of the pre-op stuff is done once your surgery date is scheduled. For example, my father was diagnosed with some prostate and kidney issues. It was recommended to do surgery. He was given a date for the surgery and scheduled to check into the hospital 8 a.m. the day before. Blood work, EKG etc were all done the day before the surgery.

You might need to ask for pain killers; this is something I found to be a huge difference between the US and Germany. In the US I was offered pain killers without having to ask, in Germany they seemed more conservative with it. But you should certainly get them if you ask.

As far as I know risks are usually discussed as part of the pre-op activities once you are admitted to the hospital.

PM me if you need translation help or if you have any specific questions.

Good luck!

dameia posted 5/12/2014 19:47 PM

I don't have any experience with surgery in Germany, but have you checked with the base hospital to see if they can recommend a translator to go to your appointments with you?

It would probably help ease your anxiety if you two were better able to communicate.

Good luck with the surgery!

Exit Wounds posted 5/13/2014 11:14 AM

frididfire86, I am German, just like fraeuken. My mother is a medical doc in Germany. If you need help, pm me.

I agree with 100% of what fraeuken said.


Cally60 posted 5/14/2014 01:30 AM

I don't have any experience with surgery in Germany, but have you checked with the base hospital to see if they can recommend a translator to go to your appointments with you?

Not only translation help. I don't know much about life in the US military, but the US army has people who deal specifically with welfare issues for the families of its personnel, doesn't it? Did your doctor not suggest that you contact them?

Even though I'd have every confidence in the German medical services, a hysterectomy is nonetheless major surgery. And you are due to have it off base, in a country where you are not fluent in the language. I would consider this a fairly important welfare issue, for which the military would want to give you plenty of support in terms of information, practical advice, reassurance, etc. in addition to translation assistance. (If only to make it easier for your spouse to focus on his work!)

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