Monday, February 2, 2009

Mexican Medical Care - so far

I've had limited personal experience here with medical needs. In my 8 or so years of coming to Isla, I've had encounters with the following:

Navy Hospital - Isla Mujeres
Got a piece of concrete blown into my eye, and it would not come out. Finally gave in and went to the hospital, where my eye was flushed and I was given drops. Although my eye improved, a week later I had a complication (dilated pupil). I returned to the Navy Hospital but with a dilated pupil they did not want to treat me; they told me I needed to go to Cancun to see a specialist. Total cost for the two visits - $20.

Ophthamologist - Cancun
I called the doctor's number and got him on his cell phone. Since his clinic was closed (I called during the evening), he told me to show up at 10 am the next morning, which I did. He examined my eyes (both), explained the problem (inflammation of the inner eye), and prescribed several drops. Told me to come back in 3 days so he could check. Total cost for the two visits - $40.

Doctor - Cancun
Now that I'm living here, I needed to find a doctor to manage my yearly physical checkup. Someone on a message board made a recommendation and I called the number provided. Turns out the number was the doctor's cell phone, not the office line. The call went to voice mail so I hung up, planning to call later. A minute later my phone rang - the doctor saw my number displayed and called me. She told me to just show up at her office the next day (a Saturday) and tell them she told me to come. After a short wait I was called (with my GP in Canada I was used to waiting well over an hour, more like two - even when I had an appointment). The doctor here sat and hand-wrote a very thorough medical history, did a physical exam, and ordered tests, including blood tests for Miguel (who doesn't have a doctor and needs his cholesterol checked). Note - this doctor is a woman's doctor, but she covered me from head to toe just like a GP in Canada would do. And she happily ordered the tests for Miguel! Wow. Cost? $70.

Mammo and Ultrasound - Cancun
Called to make appointments for both tests and was able to get in the NEXT week! (I'm used to waiting MONTHS). Went for the tests - the mammo was right on time, and included filling out a form for medical history. The equipment looked similar to what they use in Canada, including the computer with the patient database. The ultrasound appointment was about 45 minutes late, but was performed by a female doctor who gave me the results right there in the examining room. All clear, according to her - just need the mammo results which I was able to pick up two days after the test. Total cost for both tests - $80.

Lab Tests - Cancun
On Saturday morning we showed up at the lab in Cancun right as they opened. One other person was ahead of us. As we waited to register, at least 3 technicians stood in the alcove waiting for us to be registered. The receptionist explained that even though only blood tests were ordered, we could throw in a urinalysis for the same price - a promotion. In Canada a lab will only do what the doctor orders - here we were able to customize our requisition as we wished. Wow - in control of our own testing, how refreshing! Miguel's tests would cost 800 pesos (less than $80), and my tests would cost 3000 pesos (around $300). My tests were so costly because my doctor had also ordered cancer screening; otherwise my tests would have been around the same as Miguel's. The results will be ready on Tuesday, with the cancer-screening available Thursday.

The lab was very modern, and furnished with antique-looking furniture. I had to chuckle in the bathroom - the toilet was decorated with lacy pink seat and tank covers. Very feminine, I felt like I was visiting my grandmother.

So far I'm pretty happy with this private medical care in Mexico. We'll see as time goes by if I continue to be a satisfied customer. I'm hoping we'll only be yearly consumers. Fingers crossed!


Life's a Beach! said...

Keeping fingers crossed and keep yours crossed for me. I waited 6 months for a mammogram here in Phoenix, and then another 5 weeks to get back in for a recall on the mammo. Hopefully, it'll be okay. Aargh.

Bennie said...

I'm glad to hear you are happy with the healthcare there in Mexico so far. I'm with you and hope you only need it for your yearly checkups.

Islagringo said...

I've only been to the clinic here once. Hated the first doc (female) but the second one (male) was fantastic. Don't trust the xray equipment here either. So blurry you can't read it. And they xray your penis instead of your hip! They need some anatomy training.

Sue said...

Beck - fingers crossed for you!

Bennie - thanks!

Wayne - hmmm...since I don't have a penis, that will be something if one shows up!

Ann said...

Glad everything is working out. I tried to post yesterday & it wouldn't go thru--hopefully this will!