Doha Review: Dr Sabitha Prasad at Aster Medical Care Center, Al-Hilal

In my 11 months staying in Doha I have changed gynecologists three times and here's my story. I started off with an Iranian doctor in Boston Medical Care (click here for that review) and I wasn't satisfied with her diagnosis and prescription, plus it's so far away; near Villagio Mall and I stay in West Bay. So when that didn't work out I changed doctors after a recommendation from my husband's colleague to Al Tai Medical Center in Al Saad (click here for that review) She was spot-on with her diagnosis, fast, efficient and always had a long queue of Qatari ladies clad in burqas and abayas waiting for their turns in the segregated waiting area. She was also an Iranian. I was OK with her diagnosis, probings, tests and such but then after some time, they outsourced most of their tests (and by tests I meant mundane stuff like blood test, urine test and such where they don't have the man power or equipment to run it themselves) They outsourced it to Gulf Laboratories down the road; about 2 villas away. I hated scurrying under the hot sun from one clinic to another and the final straw came on Sunday when she prescribed me 3 months of birth control pills to "fix" my (censored). I knew there had to be a simpler solution to all this and I wasn't going to swallow more pills and risk another case of erosion. So I decided to get a second opinion

How I found out I had (Censored)

Actually I didn't. I didn't even knew I had it growing inside me because I felt no pain at all. I felt no pain while having sex and no pain peeing/pooping. I just figured since I had been travelling a lot lately and just got back from Malaysia (and you know (you know who you are) how filthy the loo was there at my in laws) AND my period was 5 days late I decided to make an appointment to see her. This was two weeks ago, on a fine Sunday afternoon. I figured I was pregnant. I figured wrong.

So she did ultrasound and found that I had (censored) growing on my (censored). The ones on the (censored) was huge and one was about (censored) I had to walk down to Gulf Lab and give my blood sample to check if I really was preggers. She then sent me back home with a wait and approach, and told me to come back after I've had my period. Lo and behold after the ultrasound, I had my period the very next day! So I called for an appointment and was given last Sunday (I usually get Sunday afternoons) I won't go into details about (censored) but that it's a norm thing and happens to most women at least once in their life and the majority of them won't even know it's there. It comes and it goes. But of course I can only reveal the real deal to a selected people in my family and my husband. Anyone else would blame me thinking I am unlucky, infertile and that stupid Indian shit old Indian housewives have, if you watch too much Hindi soaps, then you can't take in this information you'd probably explode into a gazillion pieces

My Insurance Company

I am covered by Daman Premier which is really good because I don't have to pay a single cent if I go to the panel hospitals and clinics covered by my insurance provider. Recently my policy was renewed and they added a whole bunch of new coverage including some vaccinations, HIV treatment and even increased their eye care claim from 500 riyals to 1500 riyals.

Aster Medical Care Center, Al Hilal

I have always undermined Indian doctors and their capabilities so I was surprised myself when I decided to settle down to a Dr. Sabitha Prasad who works in Aster Medical Care Center in Al Hilal. Aster is a Keralan company and almost all of their employees are Keralan and from India. They also have a fistfull of Pinoy staffs. There are probably about 5 Asters in Doha and this one is housed in a converted villa located at the Woqod Petrol Station roundabout and within walking distance from the Indian Embassy. They have all the labs in house, so you don't walk or drive around to do your tests. They also have both male and female gynecologists and their only radiologist (the guy who will be probing your vagina) is a male doctor that goes by Dr. Joy P Varghese

The staff there were really nice, although they were confused about my appointment (trouble finding it on their systems I think) because I had made the appointment online on their website after creating an account for myself and activating it. The whole website is java based so it took ages for the pages to load, book and refresh and confirm my booking. Click here and you will be directed to their home page

The entrance and waiting area of Aster Medical Care Center

The list of doctors plastered on the wall near the entrance

Dr Sabitha's consultation room on the 1st floor

The First Appointment

So after signing some papers and having both my ID and Insurance Card scanned I was asked to go upstairs and wait for my turn. I think I was the good doctor's first patient because no one else was there and I had plenty of time talking to her about my condition, my period history, a bit of sex life, the medicines I had been taking, Dr. Samira's findings (in my rush I had forgotten to bring my ultrasound reports) her prescriptions and our plans to conceive. She was very attentive and didn't say anything until she had a good look at my (censored) in the lab downstairs. She gave me a piece of paper with few check boxes ticked in for a blood test at the blood lab. So I handed that to a nurse and went downstairs to yet another lab for my ultrasound. Now, the trans-vaginal ultrasound itself was an issue. Remember me mentioning earlier that they only have one radiologist and it was a HE?

Dr Joy's lab on the ground floor

The Ultrasound Experience

So after another nurse directed me to pee and empty out bladder, she ushered me into Dr. Joy's room and I was uncomfortable having him probing my vagina so I said my apologies and requested that Dr Sabitha or another female doctor to do my ultrasound. He obliged (no complains or grumbling or any sort of that which you often get with the Pinoys here) and off I went upstairs again to see Dr. Sabitha and ask her if she could do it herself. She explained to me that the male doctor wasn't going to look at my vagina but rather at the monitor but my look probably said it all because after all that crap of assurance she gave me I asked if she could do it herself because I'd still be uncomfortable and she said yes no problem (with the Indian nod of course) So off I went downstairs to wait for her. After a good 30 mins wait, Dr Sabitha finally had a free slot and she came downstairs to the lab to perform the ultrasound herself. She was looking at my vagina for a good amount of time; intently I must say because I asked her how it is and she said I will tell you later no worries

One of the labs on the ground flood behind the reception counter

My blood tests

Blood Test

Once that was done, put my pants back on and was told to go upstairs to give my blood for hormone tests. Up I went again and Dr Sabitha's nurse asked me to give my blood for hormone tests and come back after 3 days. I asked her if I could see the doctor again, I mean I can't just go back without knowing how my poor (censored) were doing so she said you can ask her. I don't know why the nurses here kept telling me to ask the doctor if she can meet me or not. I mean I had my appointment didn't I? So in I went again to her office and she explained to me that the (censored) on my (censored) is 4 cm in size, and that it is a (censored) and it's expected to go away in 3 months time. She then wrote off a prescription medication for me and told me not to worry since this is the most common type of (censored) that happen to most women, you know the whole deal. She also told me not to continue my Yaz until I have finished her prescription

Once I was thoroughly satisfied with her answers I went to the blood lab and gave my blood sample. Then I went downstairs and got the prescription from the pharmacists. After that I contemplated if I should ask for the report from the receptionist (by now the receptionist was tied down with so many people) but decided against it and walked out. In less than 5 mins a cab honked at me and that concluded my visit to Dr Sabitha Prasad at Aster in Al-Hilal

The few pros and cons that I found at this place are:
  • you have to ask if you want a female doctor to probe your vagina
  • the layout of the villa is so fucking confusing, the male and female waiting rooms are the opposite end of the 1st floor and the labs are hidden behind walls so you have to walk right to the door to read the sign plastered on the door to know where you are
The female waiting area
  • no one (nurse) guides you where you have to go so you can literally walk into the store room which is so conveniently located in the female waiting area
  • you have to ask to meet the doctor after you're run whatever tests you were scheduled for because they will want to send you back and come some other time for your test results
See how the store room is just beckoning you to sneak a peak?
  • the clinic has a weird ticket/token system, and my first words of choice when I saw the TV screen was "what the fuck". They have numbers for blood lab, numbers to consult the doctor and numbers for the radiologist. In short, there's a number you have to take to see each doctor/nurse and they start off like this A01, or B04, Csomething or maybe Msomeshit
The ticket/token system for patients

The pharmacy

My prescription

  • the staff are really friendly and kind, they don't judge you
  • at my time there I managed to dig out that the staffs are mainly from Kerala. Dr Sabitha herself has been in Doha for the past ten years and she was in Women's Hospital before she came to Aster
  • their main clients are Indians, but they also get Qataris, Japanese and European patients
Well, that's it then. I am happy and I have my second appointment with her on Saturday at 10am. This time I am bringing my husband along for his semen analysis. Now that I can't wait to see how it goes

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