05 Jan2010


Let’s start the day bright and early with a little bit of a chuckle, shall we? Not typical marketmanila fare, but my experiences with doctors/nurses often turn into amusing vignettes, read a good one here, so I thought I would share this. :) I figured the Christmas holidays are a pretty deadly combination of too much rich food and a restricted exercise regimen, so I decided to get a blood test today to see my numbers at their worst, and to scare myself into action for the rest of the year after my doctor sees the results. I called our usual blood-sucking sukis over at LCM, a laboratory that does home service, and they promised to send a nurse at 7am today, Tuesday.

The doorbell rang at 7am sharp, a properly garbed nurse made her way into our dining room, and I sat down and prepared to give up some blood. It was so early that I barely noticed that the nurse had arrived with three other companions, all dressed like nurses/medical personnel. At first I thought they might be new nurse trainees, so I smiled and let them watch me going through the motions of taking a blood sample. I briefly toyed with the idea of screaming loudly when pricked by the needle, but thought that would be mean, and besides, it was just too early in the day… Then I realized they were wearing “Lifeline Arrows” uniforms, an emergency ambulance company that covers our area, so I thought it was just some new procedure…

Vials of blood harvested from my veins, a quick BP (blood pressure count) of 110/80 and I paid the bill and the four nice folks were shown to the door. It was only at this point that I noticed there was a full-fledged ambulance out front, emblazoned with the Lifeline Arrows logos, and with EMERGENCY painted all over them. Apparently a small crowd of neighbors and assorted passersby/gawkers were looking curiously at our gate/home, wondering what bloody emergency might be underway! Was it the guy who heads off to the market at 5:45am who had a heart attack when he realized he left his tomatoes at the market? Were major body parts severed by a kitchen gadget? I jest, of course, and I am grateful for their concern, but what a mini-spectacle!

Apparently, all because LCM, the medical testing company, and Lifeline Arrows (the ambulance/emergency company) are now affiliated/merged together. So when a request for a blood test comes in, and their normal nondescript service vehicles aren’t available, they apparently hitch a ride on a Lifeline Arrows ambulance to do the tests! Yikes. I suppose I should be thrilled that there was a fully equipped ambulance outdoors should I have needed it after my blood test. Only in the Philippines… :)



  1. diday says:

    hitchiking, blood-sucking sukis…. LOL!! take care MM.

    Jan 5, 2010 | 8:23 am


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  3. Marilou See says:

    Talk about good service…at least you dont have to worry if ever something did happened, an ambulance is ready to transport you to the hospital. = )

    Jan 5, 2010 | 8:24 am

  4. Quillene says:

    What great service! At least you get more than what you paid for!

    It just looks hilarious because it is in the Phils. but let’s say this is the US and people would probably pass it off as standard procedure. :)

    Hope you get good results, MM! Happy New Year!

    Jan 5, 2010 | 8:59 am

  5. millet says:

    110/80? see, i knew it all along……zubuchon is health food!

    Jan 5, 2010 | 9:06 am

  6. lyna says:

    so amusing!..

    Jan 5, 2010 | 9:12 am

  7. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    Hahahaha…..Hilarious!!! Lifeline Arrow was there just in case you “passed out” while the nurse was taking your blood!….

    Seriously, I once had to call on arrow lifeline in the early 90’s (while in Manila) and I found them to be very professional. They took care of transporting the patient (not me) to the emergency room of a hospital without asking me how they were going to be paid beforehand. They took care of the patient until the emergency room staff took over. And only then did they ask me if it was ok to discuss payment and that I could just forward the payment to their office if I didn’t have it in hand. I was very impressed!!! Needless to say, I signed up for their annual membership service fee for my entire family!

    Talking of blood test, my wife just informed me she was going to do a blood-sugar test on me in 30 minutes…yikes! Where is arrow lifeline when I need them! hehehe

    Jan 5, 2010 | 9:25 am

  8. kurzhaar says:

    I will confess, this post boggled my mind. Home phlebotomy service??!! We clearly CLEARLY live in different worlds! :) (Mind you, I WISH we had doctors that did home visits!)

    Jan 5, 2010 | 9:45 am

  9. paris4444 says:

    At least you had a good experience, I heard from my brother who recently retired there in Manila. Not sure which company he made a home appt to get his blood drawn and mentioned that the nurse were a couple of hours late, Not sure what the reason was…
    I’ll let my brother know of LCM.
    Thanks for sharing!

    Jan 5, 2010 | 10:00 am

  10. eej says:

    I can picture the scene outside your home. You had your neighbors curiosity piqued and tongues wagging at such an early hour :)

    Jan 5, 2010 | 10:02 am

  11. Teresa says:

    MM, a reading of 110/80 is like a passport for your cooking sprees :)

    Jan 5, 2010 | 10:24 am

  12. botchok says:

    @ Kurzhaar, why so surprised? where in the U.S. are you? I live here in the west coast and home phlebotomy service is so normal here.Although nurse practioners or licensed phlebotomists does the procedure instead of doctors.
    @MM, goodluck on the result of your blood chemistry tests.

    Jan 5, 2010 | 10:42 am

  13. kurzhaar says:

    Botchock, I’m a west coast native, temporarily transplanted to the northeast. Perhaps it’s because I and my friends/family haven’t had serious health issues, but I have honestly NEVER even heard of having someone come to your home to draw blood (to a workplace, sure–for employee health screening or community blood donation drives). I have had my blood drawn frequently but in every case this was at a hospital or clinic. So I guess I am wondering why this would be necessary (unless one was in poor health) when it takes what, maybe ten minutes to stop by a clinic to have the sample taken?

    As for my comments on doctor home visits–I meant for visits that involved more than a blood draw…I recall that doctor’s visits were not uncommon in my parents’/grandparents’ eras. Now THAT I wish we still had!

    Jan 5, 2010 | 11:13 am

  14. chip says:

    MM, this reminds me of the time I availed of Lifeline Arrows’ services for my dad. It was around Christmas too, a few years ago. He was feeling nauseous and he couldn’t get up. Fearing it might be something serious, we thought it was a good idea to call lifeline (and put the membership fees we pay to good use). We thought an EMS person would just come in and check on him and bring him to the hospital if it was serious. But horrors! It turned into a spectacle for neighbors, a live version of Rescue 911! The ambulance arrived barely 2 minutes from the time I put down the phone, which was great, but it came with sirens blaring and a bevy of emergency lights blinking! YIKES!!!! AND THEN, a crew of 3 EMS people rushed inside our house with a stretcher, defibrilator, 2 way radios, etc!!!! All the neighbors came out to look at what was happening. Double yikes! It was a little bit embarrassing but in a life and death situation, it’s good to know that such a system exists here and that it works.

    Jan 5, 2010 | 11:21 am

  15. RobKSA says:

    Anything to get your business they do in the Philippines. My mother in-law and brother in-laws do it all the time. We also do it when we are on vacation in the Philippines basically to double check the results we get where we are now. Amusing story MM.

    Jan 5, 2010 | 12:27 pm

  16. denise says:

    wow 110/80! suki naman ako ng Makati Med ER dahil sa mataas na BP… hehe and I didn’t have to pay anything kasi covered ng company healthcard :D

    Jan 5, 2010 | 12:33 pm

  17. Joyce says:

    like a scene from ER, sort of, without the hunky doctors. interesting, will check out the services offered by lifeline arrow and LCM

    Jan 5, 2010 | 1:05 pm

  18. Marketman says:

    kurzhaar, they do a full “spec M” or standard list of blood tests here home service for about $50 per person. :) Scheduling them for 7am is great as you need to fast for 10 hours beforehand, so I stop eating/drinking at 9pm the night before and wake up, get my test and get on with my day. If I had to do this at a hospital, I would have to wait an hour or more in line at the lab, pay about the same if not MORE money, and possibly faint in line…hahaha. Yes, living in a labor intensive society DOES have its advantages. denise, millet, etc. – I have a famously low blood pressure, but outrageously high cholesterol. So it’s the latter I worry about. When I blow a gasket an “lose it” I think my blood pressure temporarily rises to say 130/100 briefly before rapidly returning to normal… :) chip, kulang nalang the sirens and lights in my case… but the curious onlookers were there… Now, I wait slightly stressed for the faxed results due in a few hours.

    Jan 5, 2010 | 1:12 pm

  19. botchok says:

    Hi Kurzhaar, thanks for the reply. Actually a member of the family has an ailment. So for him not to miss a day at work, the phlebotomists takes his blood early in the morning so he doesnt have to go to the clinic.

    Jan 5, 2010 | 1:18 pm

  20. Marketman says:

    And kurzhaar, you may be amused to know that the local Mcdonald’s delivers for a minimum order of $3-4. The Teen thought you might want to know that. :)

    Jan 5, 2010 | 1:39 pm

  21. Lee says:

    wow 110/80! I only get that count now because of my regular maintenance tablet. I’m the other way around, hypertensive with normal cholesterol. But then I have slightly above the borderline fasting blood sugar, weight normal for a 7 footer according to the “standards,” flat feet, flabs hiding gorgeous abs… quite normal in a non-photoshopped world.

    Jan 5, 2010 | 1:45 pm

  22. thelma says:

    ugh…i hate needles! on the brighter side…i just watched (again!) the
    replay of anthony bourdain/philippines. it makes me crave for your lechon,
    best pig ever! all the food that you served looked so yummy. i also enjoyed
    that part when you took tony to the market. i can’t believe that there are
    so many kinds of bagoong and so many kinds of dried fish!

    Jan 5, 2010 | 1:57 pm

  23. Mila says:

    This post has definitely turned into an ad for Lifeline Arrows! Heehee! Get a commission MM!
    Seriously though, good knowing your bp is in the normal range, it’s way more important to keep it at that level; maybe your high cholesterol is full of good cholesterol though, so you might not be in any major danger (ok, am rationalizing fatty foods lol). I had high bp two years ago and now that I’ve moved out of the country, it’s dropped back to really good levels for a sustained period of time. Sometimes I think life in Manila is a cause for ill health. But, oh, how I miss the chaos!

    Jan 5, 2010 | 2:01 pm

  24. kit says:

    Hmmm… this might interest you MM, it costs about 10k pesos to rent an ambulance

    Jan 5, 2010 | 3:04 pm

  25. Mimi says:

    Wishing you a Healthy 2010, MM! My new baby has had blood clotting problems since he was born and suki na kami sa hospital. Mind you, he does not cry when they squeeze out blood from his hand vein, that’s how ‘seasoned’ he is at blood-letting. Wish we had home service here…

    Jan 5, 2010 | 4:56 pm

  26. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    Hey Lee, see…you were never overweight, just short of height required for current weight….hehehehe

    Jan 5, 2010 | 7:16 pm

  27. Lee says:

    Hi Artisan. always underheight :)

    Jan 5, 2010 | 7:20 pm

  28. Hershey says:

    Nice story, it seems that that kind of story only happens to movies lolz!

    Jan 5, 2010 | 8:25 pm

  29. marilen says:

    ang ‘home service’ sa pilipinas can’t be beat!!!

    Jan 5, 2010 | 8:49 pm

  30. Vicky Go says:

    @ kurzhaar et al: I’ve always been in the NE & I’ve also never heard of home blood drawing! And doctors making house calls? – dream on! At Labcorp, you can now make appointments ahead of time online; otherwise you better be there as early as you can (especially on a Saturday) to be 1st in line – so you can have blood drawn early (and not faint from the 10 hr fast – my doctor only asks for 8 hrs fast). What I do is make an appointment to see my doctor(every 3 mos because I’m on BP & cholesterol medication) & they let me come in early for the blood test part of it & then come back later to see the doctor.
    @MM: Yes I was so “shocked” when a cousin said they called McDonald’s for delivery! Here only pizza franchises deliver, not burger joints!

    Jan 5, 2010 | 10:59 pm

  31. kurzhaar says:

    Hello Teen…McDonald’s delivers???!!! Now that is a TRULY bizarre (and somewhat terrifying) concept!

    But then I don’t patronize McD’s, Wendy’s, etc….I just don’t buy into their business practices and “food” economics. Ammonia-laced beef is just too gross to consider. Back on the West coast I occasionally did eat at In-and-Out, but they are a completely different operation in terms of employee treatment and ingredient quality. For a wake-up call, ANYONE who eats fast food of whatever sort should read the new book “In-and-Out Burger” published in 2009 and compare this to “Fast Food Nation”.

    MM, yes, I can see that if it is inconvenient (waiting in line for an hour is ridiculous if you have an “appointment”), then home service is the way to go. I guess I am (happily) used to an efficient system and (West coast or East coast) have always seen physicians whose office was in the same building as a chemistry clinic…have never had to wait more than maybe 5 minutes for a blood draw in my life.

    Vicky Go…I read recently that there are a few physicians who have gone back to making house calls. While I like my physician a lot–he is trained in both Western and Eastern medicine–I don’t think he does house calls.

    Jan 6, 2010 | 12:19 am

  32. Dennis says:

    You get almost anything delivered in PI, and in some cases “anytime” too. One of the “perks” I miss the most.

    An hour’s wait at the doctor’s office is fairly common here in the US, even with a scheduled “appointment”. That’s why I take at least half a day off whenever I had to go visit the docs. Dental appointments are much worse.

    Jan 6, 2010 | 2:00 am

  33. MLABeverly says:

    Knowing your history with blood, the ambulance was rightly there in case you fainted flat-out.

    From your sister who knows you.

    Jan 6, 2010 | 2:55 am

  34. Impromptu Diva says:

    We have some LVN come to the house to draw some blood for Insurance purposes, but I am not aware of any home service for lab services… Yes only in the Philippines I bet , when home service can’t be beat!

    I was in Manila a few months ago (for the first time since I migrated to the US 9 years ago) and I was really amused when my brother asked me if I wanted a home service spa at almost midnight… “but it’s almost midnight?” i refuted and true enough after 30 minutes a van pulls over the driveway with a spa table and all! Wow, what a sweet life you have over there!

    Jan 6, 2010 | 3:37 am

  35. Guia says:

    In the USA, home health services (blood drawns, nurse/therapy visits, personal care, etc) are covered only if you are really “home bound,” ill, and ordered by MD. Otherwise, you have to pay for it if you avail of such services.

    Jan 6, 2010 | 4:36 am

  36. Betchay says:

    Hilarious story!Yeah, doctors on house calls were fairly common before but in our lawlessness society now, that will be too dangerous!Imagine, a doctor can be kidnap for ransom!!!

    Jan 6, 2010 | 7:35 am

  37. kurzhaar says:

    That’s true, I actually looked at my insurance policy out of curiosity and home visits are covered for situations where the patient cannot travel. I suppose I am lucky that I have not been in such a situation (yet).

    $50 seems pretty reasonable in that regard. My insurance pays 100% for blood draws or x-rays or such that are ordered by a physician, so fortunately I don’t even have a co-payment for these, but I imagine that if I had to pay out of pocket such services would be pretty expensive. ‘Course, who knows how insurance policies will change in the future…

    Jan 6, 2010 | 8:09 am

  38. Vicky Go says:

    They charge just for drawing the blood on top of the actual test charges. I have blood drawn at my doctor’s & they send to the lab for testing. Doctor charges for the “venipuncture”. But so does the lab when for some reason I just have to go there & have the blood drawn there. With my insurance, there is no co-pay but there are some cumulative residual charges (usually no more than $10-15) above & beyond what insurance pays that is out-of-pocket for me.

    Jan 6, 2010 | 11:52 pm

  39. renee says:

    Hi MM and the Teen – my bestfriend loooves the McDonalds delivery service, one morning when she and her sister couldn’t sleep, they ordered quarter pounders and sundaes at 4:00 AM :-) (Government warning: this story was attempted by professional gluttons, please don’t try this at home)

    Jan 7, 2010 | 11:16 am

  40. Michael Deakin says:

    Lifeline Ambulance Rescue (Lifeline Rescue) & LCM Diagnostics have come together to launch a new “home care” service in Metro Manila. We will be bringing back the lost tradition of doctor house calls, available 24/7 at the same price point as the tertiary hospitals. It’s all about service! Don’t worry, the ambulances are only being used for the short term while the market is being established. Soon the doctors, nurses and med techs will be running around town in small and efficient (pastel colored) cars that will be fully equipped with all clinic supplies.

    Jan 7, 2010 | 1:06 pm

  41. Michael Deakin says:

    Jan 7, 2010 | 1:14 pm

  42. denise says:

    MM..i’m the opposite, well based on the last time I had blood works,which was 2008, so not sure now…I’m hypertensive but not on any meds…hehe…

    kurzhaar,et al…if it can fit in a van or a motorcyle, it can be delivered :D

    Jan 7, 2010 | 2:19 pm

  43. Leslie Go says:

    Hi! Can you provide contact details of LCM…would like that kind of service….i am so into home service the past few weeks…..home massage….having your dermatologist come over your house…. :) Thanks! Thanks!

    Jan 7, 2010 | 6:34 pm

  44. natie says:

    all the info will surely come in handy one of these days..

    MM, i thought, because of your celebrity status, they all came to see you…and maybe get freebie Zubuchon..

    Jan 7, 2010 | 9:13 pm

  45. emsy says:

    You know what, I think Kurzhaar’s comments are sort of a reality check for our healthcare system here in the Philippines. Hospitals, at least the ones I go to, treat doctors as if they were gods and most of them come to work late or whatever (and the nurses pooh-pooh over most of them, too!). They also do not want to be “disturbed” when they’re on their mobiles, texting someone and most of the time, they take outrageously long breaks and have you noticed that they don’t call patients in quick succession? It’s like, one patient comes in, gets a check-up, gets blood drawn and is released, then the next patient needs to wait like 7-10 minutes before he/she gets called, because the doctor is relaxing or “freshening up” pa.

    And don’t get me started with the blood-drawing process! I can’t for the life of me understand why most diagnostic clinics/labs would have only a couple of med techs to draw blood. That means, if you go there for a blood test and there were like 10 people ahead of you, you’ll have to wait for the better part of an hour before you get called!

    Jan 8, 2010 | 8:47 am

  46. Tessa Cruz says:

    I was just curious – any feedback on the membership with Lifeline Rescue? I’m contemplating enrolling my family. It sounds like an excellent service to have at a reasonable fee. It’s one of the things I’d be willing to pay for and hope that we will never have to use it. I don’t know what the response time and quality is like in an emergency situation in Manila. This would give me some peace of mind.

    Thanks for sharing, MM.

    Jan 8, 2010 | 3:23 pm

  47. Marketman says:

    Tessa, I have generally heard good things about Lifeline. And having ambulance access seems like a good exchange for their fees. Forget trying to call most local hospitals for an ambulance in a real emergency…

    Jan 9, 2010 | 8:10 am

  48. chito says:

    well first they have no training at all….secondly they are happy if you give them first a tip..lastly only in uniforms they say they are paramedics but they are not……….thats life

    Aug 28, 2010 | 12:23 am

  49. mikey says:

    @chito who said people from lifeline don’t have training?

    most medics there are emts there are trained by the only emt school in thee philippines. nobody in lifeline claims to be a paramedic, that I assure you. also, they have experienced nurses there who practiced for years in tertiary medical institutions.

    I’m with lifeline and I take pride in our institution. I’m guessing either you’re from another ems service or you just don’t know what you’re talking about.

    Sep 19, 2010 | 6:46 pm

  50. ed says:

    My family had used the Lifeline Arrows services 2x for the last 8 years. Subscribing to them is worth it regardless of the spectacle the flashing lights bring to our small community. Since we are subscribed to their services through a credit card affilliation, the fee is small. In fact I think several neighbors decided to subscribe too after those incidents, even for a higher fee since they are not in a critical mass.

    Once, at 1AM for my wife who was in severe abdominal pain, and another when my mother-in-law had a heart attack in the middle of the day while my wife and myself were in Makati working and we live in Paranaque. With the traffic situation when getting to the point of need is crucial and at our confused and untrained state, the presence of a professional who know what they are doing is a life saver, sometimes quite literally. When it happens and saves those whom you care for, it is no laughing matter.

    By the way, no one ever spoke to me about tipping or asking for one. We should stop this line of discussion specially if it is speculative as it is unfair to those concerned. If it were true, somebody gave the contacts of Lifeline and take it up with them directly.

    I am not a marketing person for this organization. If you find another who has same or better service, please let me know. In the meantime, to these people SALAMAT PO.

    Jan 28, 2011 | 5:58 am

  51. Michael Deakin says:

    @Ed, thank you for your diplomacy. As the owner of Lifeline i can assure you that lifeline and it’s crew do not ask, will not ask and will not accept tips. It’s very much against our policy.

    Everyone is more than welcome to call lifeline on 16911 or me directly on 8392012 if they have any concerns, questions or need clarifications on our service.

    Jan 31, 2011 | 4:31 pm

  52. Marketman says:

    Michael, thanks for your comments. I will say, however, as a longtime customer of LCM, which I gather is now a part of Lifeline, staff in the past have definitely gladly accepted tips, I know this for a fact, as I tend to give tips when service is good. I never FELT pressured into giving a tip, far from it, I voluntarily gave it and it was accepted. I just had a blood test two weeks ago, and my assistant paid the bill so I am pretty sure there was NOT a tip given in the most recent instance, particularly since the nurse called the night before to delay the appointment by half an hour, and I told her to please be on time as I had an important appointment after the blood test, then she proceeded to show up more than 30 minutes late. Before taking my blood, she asked me to confirm the tests I needed, which were quite a lengthy list which we had PREVIOUSLY faxed to your offices to ensure I had all bases covered. It turns out she had an incorrect list of tests to be conducted and it took another 5-10 minutes to sort this out. She took two other blood tests of staff in our home. By the time she left our home, it was nearly 50-55 minutes AFTER the revised and agreed appointment time. Normally, an LCM or Lifeline visit is over and done with in 10-12 minutes, so this was not a typical experience based on at least the dozen times they have been to our home. But it is the MOST RECENT experience.

    Jan 31, 2011 | 4:58 pm


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