The following came in as a general comment on the David Hospitals, but I decided it would fit better as a guest post.
Too many people come to Panama with false expectations about healthcare and wind up frustrated or worse.
One of these days I will have another followup of experiences learned durning the care of MC.
Planing on living in Panama? Better have a grasp on basic Spanish if you want to survive many healthcare needs.
My husband was seen first in Boquete clinic..they did some tests gave an IV.The test results showed an infection.Dr.Chen recommended a David hospital.We headed there got in right away at CHIRIQUI.
They took blood started an IV. We waited two hours for a doctor. Then I needed to head back to Boquete to get the children to bed (school today). I called my husband several times still no doc. Then went to bed..at 11:00 the hospital called and said I needed to come in immediately to pay $1100.00 for the emergency room. $500.00 for admission fee and $600.00 for other fees not the testing.I told them I was not driving from the mountains at 11 at night to pay a bill.I was hesitant to give them my debit card.They said he would need to leave then. This is all very broken english…she put me on hold and told me I could pay in the morning when I come in.
I just talked to my husband..he still has not seen a Dr. Or a nurse that speaks english.It is nine am. I will be heading in to pick him up and take him back to Boquete clinic. They even wrote extensive notes for David hosp. They may be withholding care until that bill is paid.My husband said No one has come in except to change IV bags.He is very sick..Dr.Chen thinks he needs IV antibiotics….I didn’t think I needed to bring a translator.
Too much false info on these blogs.One has to live here to really know what it is like….We love it here…just need to figure out good health care.
I checked put flights to US . BUT don’t think Eric could make the 27 hours.
It has been about eight days since my last update.
For those just tuning in, this is a followup to THIS POST.
Let me start off by making something clear. This is a slow process. I went to the hospital yesterday morning and there were some visitors hoping to see Marion and had heard she was very much improved to the point that she might be released soon.
I had seen her the previous day, in the morning and the evening, and she was having a bad day. She was having difficulty breathing. Then, yesterday morning when I saw her, there had been no improvement. I could tell she was concerned.
I spoke with the doctor and he said they had found fluids in her lungs again. He said his plan was to drain the fluids. He called me about 1 PM yesterday and said he had talked to Marion and explained the situation. He explained the procedure to me, and said the procedure was scheduled for 3PM. Continue reading MC Update November 6→
Dr. Bullen invited me to be in the room for Lilliam’s examination. Since her cancer was a skin cancer, he inspected all of her skin. Literally from head to toe.
When he inspected the scalp, he moved all strands of hair looking for suspicious areas. He checked the bottom of the feet. He said different areas were susceptible to different types of cancer. Some cancers much more serious than others.
While he didn’t look at 100% of her body, he probably looked at 95%.. I was impressed at how thorough he was.
Lilliam got a clean bill of health and will return for next 6 month visit. It is really nice that she can see him in David and not have to go to Panama City.
All went well, however, this year I also needed to see an internist to get a letter stating I am in good health and qualify to get a driver’s license. In Panama, this is required every two years following your 70th birthday. Prior to 70 it costs $40 for a 4 year license, i.e $10/year. After 70 it cost $40 for a 2 year license, i.e. $20/year.
Dra. Marta had recommended Dr, Héctor R. Caballero, who is an internist as well as a specialist in diabetes. My dad had diabetes, and I had asked her if she had an internist with experience in diabetes.
When Lilliam called, to set up an appointment, the admin asked if I spoke Spanish. My name had raised the red flag of a potentially Spanish challenged client.
Lilliam said my Spanish should suffice and she would be there as well. Apparently, Dr. Caballero wasn’t taking any more patients that only spoke English because of past communication problems.
This is why all people planning on living in Panama need to learn Spanish. While you can find doctors that speak English, you will be limiting your options.
I was extremely impressed with Dr. Caballero. It may have been the most thorough exam I have had, He asked me to get a special blood test, since my sugar level is borderline. I did that yesterday and will have the results for the next visit in a couple weeks.
He did provide the required letter for the transit authority. I will get that taken care of before the end of the month.
The office visit was $50. $40 with the jubilado discount. I got the blood test at Hospital Mae Lewis, since we are there every day and no need for a special trip to Hospital Chiriqui to get the results.The blood test was around $16.
My appointment yesterday was for 1:30 PM. We were told to be a little early. We arrived at 1:00PM. We entered the doctor office at about 2:45 PM..
We were entertained in the waiting room by a confused woodpecker. At least I think it was a woodpecker.
I kept hearing this noise. For a while I thought someone was working outside. It continued and I finally noticed this bird pecking at the corner of the windows. He would leave and return. I am not sure what he thought he was going to accomplish by tapping on the window, but he did keep me amused. As you can see, it doesn’t take much to amused.
FYI, MSPH Care now covers med/Dr services at Hospital Mae Lewis.
Planning my hernia surgery, I got exams from 4 Drs; 3 at Hospital Chiriqui, 1 at Mae Lewis. I choose Dr Samuel Cattan Jr, who only practices at Mae Lewis, and does not float between both private hospitals. Meaning also, I choose Mae Lewis over H. Chiriqui, even tho H. Chiriqui is a much better facility; better to pick the Dr, not the building. Dr Cattan was the only 1 of 4 who thoroughly examined me, detailed my condition, and explained the surgery.
I had exams one day, had lab tests the second day, had surgery the third day, was released from hospital the forth day. Couldn’t have had faster than that! Much of that service due to the hand-holding of Dr Cattan. He personally walked me thru the 4 lab tests; he was there to greet me when I was admitted into hospital; after his surgery he visited me in my room; the next morning he post-op examined me and issue a hospital release. After 2 days convalescing, I bussed home to Bocas. A week later, I was back to my regular self. That only happened due to the care and skill of Dr Cattan. I cannot more highly recommend a surgeon.