A Doctor Visit

As part of my new job I will get a company pension. I thought those died off decades ago. Nevertheless after having no company sponsored or matched retirement package for the last three years since transferring to Germany, I am pleased to have it back.

In order to qualify for the pension, I had to get a medical certificate stating that I was fit to do my job and generally in good health. So the new company booked me an appointment last week for a full physical on Friday and by Monday all the results were in and I was given a clean bill of health.

However, I still find it surprising what is included in a physical in Germany versus what I ever remember getting in the US. In the US, I would meet with the doctor for maybe 15 minutes, chat about my family medical history, clarify if I had any specific issues or complaints and then after a check of the heart and stomach area, using only a stethoscope and tapping with hands, I would be sent on my way for some blood work.

In Germany, it is a 90 minute event. First I started with a consultation and asked the basic questions, similar to what is done in the US. Then, I went to the exercise room where I was hooked up to monitors and rode a bike to check my lungs, heart, blood pressure and general fitness over a period of time and with increasing resistance on the bike.

Immediately upon finishing, about 8 vials of blood were taken to check thyroid, blood cell count, cholesterol, cancer markers, iron, and so on. Once that was complete, I was given a full (and messy) ultrasound - neck, back, chest, abdomen.

The appointment was on a Friday and the results for everything were available on Monday already. I can't remember ever waiting for less than a week to get any results in the US.

While I'm sure it is still possible that something could be missed, I still feel better for getting such a thorough physical and happy that everything checked out ok this time.

Posted by Michelle


G in Berlin said...

Things have changed. I booked a full physical before coming over here (4 years ago)from the US with a real internal medicine doctor (rather than my old pediatrician- she had retired:)), and I had an EKG and a heck load of other tests as well.Sometimes I wonder that quality of medical treatment is allowed to be so variable and that checklists have not been created with best practices to ensure some uniformity of practice...
Congrats on the pension fund!

J said...

Perhaps it's different nowadays. I also had to have a physical, but that consisted of chatting with a doctor about the USA while he was taking my blood pressure (back in 2002). That was it.

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