Great job Sharon. I just got on the Internet and saw a FaceBook post from Sharon Sample, who is handling the US Embassy Warden duties while I am out of the country. Her experience is worth reading. Healthcare, is one item that anyone moving to Panama has to have as a forethought and not an after thought. I have seen many similar cases where a person has been shipped to the Regional hospital after depleting their funds in one of the private hospitals.
Sharon lives in La Barqueta, which means a much more difficult time for her than I have, since I live in David. Here was the synopsis of her week. Her post is as a learning experience for those considering living in Panama.
A tough week turned out to be successful : An ailing American returned home!
Back story – After having the truck repaired we went to the Regional social security hospital to visit an American in need. He had been in the local private hospital for 3 minor surgeries. After spending for here a large chunk of money he transferred to the public hospital to save funds Huge difference – 6 beds to a room v.s. 1 or 2, and no ENGLISH. He speaks no Spanish
He has no family here and was actually here on a medical mission with Floating Doctors building a clinic for an indigenous tribe way out in the jungle when he had an accident of sorts.
Anyhow yours truly as an Embassy Warden with credentials was able to bypass the family only rule and do a welfare check. Mind you he was in the surgical ward and attached to multiple tubes, etc. which would need to be removed and the body closed up. Receiving transfusions to build up his blood and draining fluid from the chest. He wanted to go home! No one would let him…..
If he lived here my method and advice would have been very different. As it was I could see his point that not being absolutely critical he could go back and admit into his home hospital where he does have insurance.
It would take some doing but his doctor friends advised he should be able to make it!
I needed to consult with his doctor and in Spanish. Here the doctors are mandated to put in their time at the public hospital for 1/2 the day, then allowed to spend the other 1/2 in private practice at a private hospital.
Off I go to consult. His doc. did not want to release him until the weekend. The doctors administrative assistant and I had a long chat. There was worry about his lack of funding and ability to travel. Wound care, drainage,oxygen, etc.. I explained that he felt he could travel for a day, he has insurance at home to cover medical there so not to worry and that he would check himself in to his hospital once back stateside.
Should a problem arise en-route he could go to hospital in Panama City….
The doctor agreed he could be released against doctors orders if he insisted and signed a release of liability
He wanted to leave the next day Wednesday. Last night he made it home!
WOOT! So happy for him. Communication is key and the doctor was looking out for his best interest but how can you make a plea? Thank you United States Embassy for allowing me to help this man!