Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Neonatal care

Most people would not think that hospital care in Portugal is up to much, even those that live here. Now I'm here to tell you exactly the opposite is true. That's from personal experience, too.

Back in November 2009 I was sent to hospital on total bedrest in danger of miscarrying my baby. I stayed in bed for eight full weeks in my own private room with a TV and bathroom - that I couldn't actually get up to use but that's a whole other story - all to myself. Traumatic as the whole experience was I was treated with nothing but kindness, dignity and professionalism at every step.

The point of this post, though is about what happened after that. My baby was born at 30 weeks, which is ten weeks before his due date. His care was second to none. He had access to all the necessary technology to keep him breathing and to develop outside the womb. In all, after some respiratory complications, he spent nearly four months in hospital. Not only did it not cost us a single penny - other than the taxes we pay of course - but he got state-of-the-art care and I was extremely thankful that he was born right here in Portugal. If it happened again I wouldn't choose to be anywhere else.

It turns out that Portuguese neonatal care is ranked amongst the best in the world. I know because I checked while I was on bedrest because I'd been convinced by all the bad press, too. We would have been worse off in both the UK and the US.

In terms of the overall infant mortality rate Portugal also fares better than a number of nations that you might expect to outrank it. According to indexmundi Portugal's infant mortality rate stands at 4.66 deaths out of every 1,000 live births, just behind the UK with 4.62 deaths per 1,000 and Australia with 4.61. New Zealand's infant mortality rate is 4.78 Canada's is 4.92 and in the US it is 6.06 deaths per 1,000 live births.

My son is now nearly two years old and thriving. He's had a lot of hospital appointments to check on his progress over his little lifetime, but he's doing great. We never had to fight for treatment or wait to be admitted to hospital. He's never been on a waiting list or had to be approved for hospital care or vaccines. He just gets what he needs; no questions asked.

This stuff really matters and Portugal is very good at it.

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