Our Medical Experiences in Mexico - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 47 Old 09-21-2012 Thread Starter
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Our Medical Experiences in Mexico

We've been in Mexico for 4 months now and we've had to seek medical and dental care here. The dental work was about 1/6th the price of California and 95% as good. The medical care that we've received has been superior.
My wife was electrocuted 6 years ago, ended up in a wheelchair and was unable to care for herself for about a year. I don't want to go on and on about that but it was hard.
She has seen about 35 doctors between the worker's comp doctors and the disability doctors. When we arrived in Mexico we learned that a very expensive muscle relaxant that she had been using, Amrix, is unavailable here. We sought out a doctor to help deal with her sometimes debilitating abdominal (growing to involve her whole left side and her diaphragm) spasms. We found an internist who, on the first visit, talked with her for 2 hours for 500 pesos, about $40.00. Each of the next 8 visits were between 1/2 an hour to an hour and the 500 pesos included all the meds and supplements in that price. He said that he could prescribe medicines like the American doctors had ($1000.00 a month in the US) and that they would be very expensive like the American prescriptions were, or that they could try to fix the problem.
He performed many tests totaling about $120.00 and determined that her thyroid gland wasn't working any longer in addition to many other dietary deficiencies. He put her on a radical 6 week diet. No dairy, meat, wheat, no sugar, no gluten, etc. No large pelagic fish, only small fish, and chicken once a week max. After 2 weeks he gave her a medicine to kill all of the bacteria in her gut and a week later he re-introduced beneficial bacteria. His theory was that the electricity had killed most of the good bacteria and bad bacteria had taken over.
Results? She has lost almost 50 lbs in 3 months so she's back to her weight from before the injury, she is able to eat normally and go to the bathroom normally for the first time in 6 years, and her prescriptions which are mostly free of side effects unlike before, total about $150.00 a month. Her eyesight has improved and her hair isn't falling out anymore. She must take many dietary supplements now to keep her system running smoothly.
Our trips to the ER have gone from once a month to once in 5 months and maybe after what we learned last week, never again.
We did need to have her hospitalized last week and we were SHOCKED at the difference in care between the US and Mexico. Caring is still a part of healthcare in Mexico. Between the ER visit and 2 days in the best hospital in Ensenada, the bill was right at $1000.00.
You can read about the incident and the hospital on our blog, here-
Landfall Voyages And There We Were in a Mexican Emergency Room: Part 1

Part 2 will be up tonight.


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post #2 of 47 Old 09-21-2012
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Re: Our Medical Experiences in Mexico

looking forwards to part 2. I feel your pain, i've been to some pretty scarry 3rd world countries and have experienced the worst, but also wonderful outcomes from difficult situations. new friends, cheap dental care sounds like you'll have the content for a book by the time this is over.
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post #3 of 47 Old 09-21-2012
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Re: Our Medical Experiences in Mexico

Wow, what a story, thanks for sharing! Looking forward to part 2, and checking out your blog now...

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post #4 of 47 Old 09-21-2012
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Re: Our Medical Experiences in Mexico

Having spent 15 years working in cardio-pulmonary medicine at two of Baltimore's largest teaching hospitals, I can unequivocally say that 95-percent of the physicians I've come across in my lifetime are not worth a damned. The vast majority are pill pushers who hope to make enough money to retire early and put their kids through medical school.

When you do come across a knowledgeable physician or surgeon, which is rare, they tend to be the ones that take the time necessary to make a proper diagnosis, and then provide the correct regiment of treatment. The major problem that most individuals have is they have no way of determining whether or not the physician or surgeon they're seeing is competent. Sure, you can look on the Internet and find out if they have some malpractice suits filed against them, but other than that it's next to impossible to do anything more than make a WAG (wild-assed guess).

The best advice I have for sailors is to have a fully stocked first aid kit onboard, one that contains not only the usual array of bandages and aspirins, but additionally, antibiotics, pressure dressings, splints, sutures and needles, and an adequate supply of any prescription drugs you may be taking. In my case, I even have a bottle of nitroglycerin tablets on the boat - just in case I have that third heart attack while anchored in the Dry Torgugas.

You were very fortunate to find a highly qualified physician while visiting Mexico. Most of the better ones tend to head north to the U.S. where the pay scale is much higher. I knew a couple of ex-patriots from south of the border, both of which have since passed away. Both were excellent surgeons and outstanding diagnosticians.

Cheers,

Gary
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post #5 of 47 Old 09-22-2012
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Re: Our Medical Experiences in Mexico

many of the physicians here in mexico are trained in usa. there is nothing inferior about medical care outside usa.
914--i knew you wouldnt have a problem here with healthcare, as is very inexpensive.
i wasnt sure what meds you would be able to find--i knew most on your list were readily available.
i know here in mexico one is not allowed to buy certain antihistimines, but those werent on your list. i am glad you found good folks and proper care.
i donot trust physicians in usa, as most are into the greed factor--quite a few of the GOOD ones give up after so long with a corrupt system. in usa, is all about money --money for insurance companies, is all about the lobbies dictating the prices and fees. no humanity anymore.


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post #6 of 47 Old 09-22-2012
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Re: Our Medical Experiences in Mexico

Mexico is no exception to poor med care. Be careful of conclusions based on single anecdotal stories, I'm nevertheless glad to hear of the above success.

Epidemiology of medical complaints in Mexico: identifying a general profile


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Re: Our Medical Experiences in Mexico

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Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
Mexico is no exception to poor med care. Be careful of conclusions based on single anecdotal stories, I'm nevertheless glad to hear of the above success.

Epidemiology of medical complaints in Mexico: identifying a general profile
Good article.

However, as a single data point, it is rather non-instructive. What would be of interest is the same method being applied to other countries, and then see those results.

That would be informative. Study is dated 2006 (6 years ago) and I wonder if changes have happened now? Does the area of Mexico a doctor practices in matter (my guess is yes)? Those that target medical tourism I would suggest are every bit as capable as those in first world countries.



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post #8 of 47 Old 09-22-2012
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Re: Our Medical Experiences in Mexico

On a related note, I had some dental work done in Thailand. First rate care all the way. Inexpensive, first rate customer service in reception and billing. Dentists in the USA seem to hire pit bulls for receptionists and think you are lucky they can fit you in after an hours wait.
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post #9 of 47 Old 09-22-2012
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Re: Our Medical Experiences in Mexico

AARP has had some good articles on this thread. Like the USA, there are good and bad practioners with many in between.
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Re: Our Medical Experiences in Mexico

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...... Study is dated 2006 (6 years ago) and I wonder if changes have happened now? ...
Can't say, but Mexico certainly hasn't thrived over the past 6 years, particularly the past few.

I have a good friend that lives in an ex-pat neighborhood outside Mexico City. He loves it, but it's not getting better.


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