Doctors And Dentists
Both Terra and I went to a medical clinic this morning. Terra had spent the evening before with extreme nausea and had woken up with it again. Otherwise, our digestive systems have been unaffected since we arrived, so we’re not worried about water contamination or things of that nature. My malady is an ache in my right ear which has been plaguing me since our last scuba dive three days ago.
As we are once again in Loreto, Joe and Julie highly recommended we go into one of these small medical clinics with adjoining pharmacy which are typical for this area. The fee is a flat charge of 40 pesos (about $3.50US) for the exam. The clinic was quite small, starkly white with just a few photos of doctors on the walls and of course, an image of Guadalupe framed in gold. Behind the desk was a very pleasant and chatty female doctor. She welcomed Terra and I warmly and I felt instantly like we were in good care.
This type of clinic was exactly the kind of solution I was looking for. I didn’t want to set up a regular doctor appointment or have to go to a walk-in emergency facility. I also didn’t want to take care of this in San Diego (where we will be in two days) and have to pay at least $150 for someone to take a peek in my ear. Frankly, I just needed someone to look in my ear and help me determine the level of infection so that I could know how aggressively to treat it so that I can be back in diving shape by the time we go diving again in about 2 weeks. As for Terra, we just needed someone to prescribe an anti-nausea medication to help her alleviate the symptoms she’s having while her body naturally heals.
There was no line to see the doctor and within 25 minutes Terra and I had been seen. with prescriptions dispensed from the adjoining pharmacy. The diagnosis for Terra was gastrointestinal inflammation and for me just some inflammation in my inner ear. For about $20 we both walked out of the clinic with exams complete and medications filled.
Joe and Julie shared with us that they always go to this clinic whenever they have an ailment and so far there hasn’t been anything that the doctor hasn’t been able to handle. This form of healthcare is one of the most sensible and reasonable solutions I have ever encountered.
Similarly, Andrew broke a crown on a tooth while in Loreto a couple of weeks ago. The dentist spoke English well, was extremely knowledgeable, and repaired the crown for $180. The same work in the U.S. would have cost somewhere in the $1,000 range. Plus, he never asked for the money up front or even at the point where he took the mold for the crown which had to be sent away for. Andrew was literally able to walk in off the street one evening without an appointment, be immediately seen and an hour later all of the initial work and mold had taken place. Andrew is happy with the work he had done. He really grew to trust the dentist (having medical work done in a foreign country was an entirely new experience for him and he had his doubts and fears) and feels like it was a really positive experience.
Apparently the Mexican government offers a subsidized medical plan to residents and for around $300 per year, an individual has access to health care at no additional cost. There are no co-pays and one can go to any doctor they want to go to, in any town. Apparently quite a lot of Californians and New Mexicans own a small plot of land in Mexico just so that they can obtain residency and the subsidized health insurance plan. Then, whenever they need medical work done they go to their favorite health facility at practically no cost. I haven’t done any research on this plan and what I’ve written here is purely based on what a friend shared. I hope it’s as good as it sounds though and that there is yet another country that has successfully figured out their health care plan. If we could only get our acts together back in the U.S. of A.!