According to Wiki: An outpatient is a patient who is not hospitalized overnight but who visits a hospital, clinic, or associated facility for diagnosis or treatment.
There’s another definition of “outpatient” here… as illustrated by the images below. If you live near a Korean hospital, like we do, you would see “confined” patients taking a stroll, shopping at the nearby grocery store or even smoking. I took the images below while I was in the car.
The hospital culture in Korea is somewhat different from the US or even in the Philippines. For one, they don’t let confined patients go out in the street. In the Philippines, some are allowed inside the hospital complex but I don’t remember seeing one out in the street. Also, visitors are expected to come to the hospital during the visiting hours. Kids are generally not allowed in the hospital unless they are patients, too. When we visited my mother in a hospital in Los Angeles, my son wasn’t allowed in the hospital to see his grandmother. Hospital rules are generally more lax here in Korea than what I was used to in the Philippines.
And here’s another one…
Technomad also has a picture of an “outpatient” taking a smoking break.
The biggest issue now in Korea is the MERS scare. Even when the government has put some people in quarantine, a few still managed to do things their way. One Korean was able to travel to China despite being sick. And a couple (and doctors at that!) flew over the weekend to the Philippines for a short vacay! No wonder MERS in Korea is spreading faster than it did in the middle east! Thankfully, the mortality rate in Korea is not as high as in the middle east. Like many others, I’m hoping that scientists would find a cure or a vaccine for the MERS-CoV or if not at least it would subside by now that the government has been more proactive in dealing with this.