Thursday, February 19, 2009
Mexican Medical Care
In the last couple of weeks Bob, who has been taking medication to control high blood pressure for several years, had been experiencing some symptoms that we suspected might be the result of low blood pressure. (He’s lost some weight in the last few months and increased his exercise regime, which may have altered his need for the medication.) So on Monday we decided to visit the local clinic in Los Barriles and have his blood pressure checked. It was quite low, and the nurse suggested he come in every day to get it checked, skip a blood pressure pill for one day and see if that made a difference, and perhaps be seen by the doctor if the problem persisted. His pressure has remained low, so this morning he had an appointment with Dr. Cavalos, a Mexican doctor who fortunately speaks impeccable English. Dr. Cavalos gave Bob a thorough exam, asked questions to compile a detailed medical history, and gave us the most thorough explanation we’ve ever heard from any doctor (including Bob’s cardiologist) of how the various risk factors related to high blood pressure and heart risk interact and cancel each other out or contribute to added risk. Dr. Cavalos recommended Bob drop the blood pressure medication altogether for a while, but come in every day to have it checked. When we told him we will be leaving Los Barriles this Sunday, and will not be back home for another month, he amended the recommendation to suggest Bob have a fasting blood test (complete blood work up) tomorrow morning to rule out other contributing causes, then return Saturday for another consultation when the blood results are in. So that’s the plan. We came away with an incredibly positive impression of the care Bob has received as well as the ease of accessing that care. Today was the first time he had an appointment, and all the other blood checks have been done on a walk-in basis, and immediately on our arrival, and without charge. So after dropping in Monday, we will have had 6 visits in 6 days and have completed testing and diagnosis. How long would that have taken in the US and how much would it have cost? We have not been billed yet, but are told by others to expect the cost to be extremely low. The nursing staff are professional and polite, answered our questions, and seem as competent as any we’ve dealt with anywhere in the U.S. The doctor had better listening skills than almost any doctor we’ve ever met and certainly spent more time on the consultation then we get in the U.S. He gave us thorough information in easy lay language. And this is in a small town 2 hours from any large city. Wow!