In Mexico, Medical Care Finds A Way

By JOHN M. DERBY
February 8, 2018

Questions about living in Mexico often have to do with handling medical issues.

In our area (600 miles south of the border) getting vital medical care promptly has its problems, however, getting medical care in California also has problems.

We are 60 miles from a regional hospital which is open for business 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and has doctors who are either full time or ones who must serve their tour of duty in regional hospitals before they can be assigned to a larger one.

Fourteen miles from our beachfront development is a clinic which is only open until 7 p.m. and has a doctor on call. For minor ailments it can provide the first level of care.

We also have two nurses who live right in the development, one of whom just spent two days with an elderly patient who came down with a problem of bleeding ulcer. These nurses are unpaid and do this out of the kindness of their hearts. The patient was 89 years old and his wife was in Arizona while he came down to his home in Baja, Mexico.

As it turned out, his medical situation was too serious for the local clinic and he had to be taken by ambulance to Santa Rosalia where the regional hospital is located. The ambulance is manned by a volunteer force called the Bomberos, or firemen, who also have EMT training.

The chief of the Bomberos is also a member of the Mulege Rotary which helps sponsor the fire department and ambulance. Most of the vehicles they use have been donated by fire departments in the United States, and are in fair condition, but gas to run them is always at a premium.

Should an ambulance be required, the cost is minimal. For instance, in one case where the man was taken to Santa Rosalia, the round trip was about 120 miles and the Bomberos asked for a “donation” of 500 pesos, or $35 in US currency. Another patient was taken to a hospital in La Paz, (500 miles round trip). The charge was only $350.

The daughter of the man with the ulcer, flew from Arizona to the nearest international airport (Loreto is 65 miles away). A pilot who lives at our development, flew down to pick her up and transport her to the hospital so she could be with her father.

He was given two pints of blood as part of his treatment in the local hospital and his daughter and he drove back to Arizona for follow up treatment. The word is that he is recovering fine and it wouldn’t surprise us to find him back down in Baja next season.

While medical care in Mexico is not equal to that in the United States, it is being handled by combining local volunteer members of the community along with the medical professionals who are available. And it is being done in a surprisingly efficient manner.

We do lose some people due to lack of facilities, and with the population living longer, the problem of timely medical care is ongoing nationally and internationally.

On the plus side, being in Mexico in the winter is much healthier than living in the Central Valley of California where people are not as inclined to get outside and exercise. Here in Mexico we are playing tennis, beach ball, kayaking, sailing and hiking, in 70 to 80 degree weather.

Nothing could be better for the body than regular exercise.

As to medical conditions, it is amazing the quality of medical care that is being provided using volunteers in addition to local resources.


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