Health related question..

audboogie

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For those of you who live, or plan on living in the DR for a long period of time, (maybe your whole life), what are your thoughts/feelings about what you would do if god forbid you got really sick, or in an accident of some sort? would you go back to your homeland for treatment? basically my question is, how confident do yall feel about the DR health care system? examples would be, (i know its not something we want to think and talk about, but...) cancer? heart attack, stroke? car accident?
not the most uplifting post, i know, but realistically, its something one must think about when they decide whether or not to relocate to a foreign country let alone a third world country for their lifetime or extended period of time.
Opinion, comments, thoughts?
 

Mirador

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Who's third world in health services? Did you know that a recent survey from all 50 states in the US reveals that medical errors are responsible for the deaths of 195,000 people a year in American hospitals? This makes medical mistakes the third leading cause of death in the US, behind heart disease and cancer.
 

Jimmydr

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Mirador said:
Who's third world in health services? Did you know that a recent survey from all 50 states in the US reveals that medical errors are responsible for the deaths of 195,000 people a year in American hospitals? This makes medical mistakes the third leading cause of death in the US, behind heart disease and cancer.
At least in the US the family gets paid! If I die under the knife, my wife and 23 kids get some money.
 

audboogie

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Mirador said:
Who's third world in health services? Did you know that a recent survey from all 50 states in the US reveals that medical errors are responsible for the deaths of 195,000 people a year in American hospitals? This makes medical mistakes the third leading cause of death in the US, behind heart disease and cancer.

ok...now to back that up, what are the rates in the DR healthcare system? from your comment, sounds like 0? do they even keep track of medical errors in DR? when there is a medical error, do they even realize it was a result of medical error? if thats the case that little to no medical error occur in DR, thats good information to know.
and of course, numbers tend to increase when population is greater.
 

audboogie

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Jimmydr said:
195,000 out of 300,000,000 = .00065%

For Dr that means only 5200 dealths.
im quick to question statistics coming out of the DR, when in another post i asked about cancer rates in women, and people with diabetes, and some replies i got were that they seem low because the dominican republic doesn't keep track. So, now are we saying that it does keep track of medical errors but not other statistics? confused...
 

Jimmydr

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audboogie said:
im quick to question statistics coming out of the DR, when in another post i asked about cancer rates in women, and people with diabetes, and some replies i got were that they seem low because the dominican republic doesn't keep track. So, now are we saying that it does keep track of medical errors but not other statistics? confused...
Lots of Dominicans die at home or in route to the clinic as well.
 

Ken

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Depends on the circumstances, I suppose, and whether really high tech equipment was necessary. If I had to have brain surgery, for example, I would go back to the US if I could.

My wife recently had a hip replacement done in Santo Domingo. The doctor was excellent, the materials he used for the replacement were the latest available, and her recovery was rapid.

We have both had cataract surgery here and were very pleased with the doctor and the results.

A few years ago my jaw was fractured in two places and the surgeon, though it was difficult to do, was able to get everything back together without locking the jaws closed.

We have a cardiologist in Santo Domingo who is excellent and who we would rely on. If he said go back to US, we would go. Otherwise, no.

Likewise with our gastroenterologist, urologist, and other doctors. All our doctors have been recommended to us by doctors we trust and are the doctors they and their families use.

I chatted with a friend in Canada recently whose daughter needs to be seen by pediatric cardiologist, but that there was a long waiting list, meaning weeks, perhaps several months before she could get an appointment. Since this person has lived for long periods in the DR, she knows the medical situation here and was lamenting that it was not possible to just call up a specialist and make an appointment like we can here.

I can't speak for Dominican health care in general, because my only experience is with a small group of doctors. But we trust them and would go back to the US only if they recommended we do so.
 

Jimmydr

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Ken said:
Depends on the circumstances, I suppose, and whether really high tech equipment was necessary. If I had to have brain surgery, for example, I would go back to the US if I could.

My wife recently had a hip replacement done in Santo Domingo. The doctor was excellent, the materials he used for the replacement were the latest available, and her recovery was rapid.

We have both had cataract surgery here and were very pleased with the doctor and the results.

A few years ago my jaw was fractured in two places and the surgeon, though it was difficult to do, was able to get everything back together without locking the jaws closed.

We have a cardiologist in Santo Domingo who is excellent and who we would rely on. If he said go back to US, we would go. Otherwise, no.

Likewise with our gastroenterologist, urologist, and other doctors. All our doctors have been recommended to us by doctors we trust and are the doctors they and their families use.

I chatted with a friend in Canada recently whose daughter needs to be seen by pediatric cardiologist, but that there was a long waiting list, meaning weeks, perhaps several months before she could get an appointment. Since this person has lived for long periods in the DR, she knows the medical situation here and was lamenting that it was not possible to just call up a specialist and make an appointment like we can here.

I can't speak for Dominican health care in general, because my only experience is with a small group of doctors. But we trust them and would go back to the US only if they recommended we do so.
If you have money, of course you can get the best there is and in DR, it doesn't equire lots of money.
 

audboogie

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Jimmydr said:
If you have money, of course you can get the best there is and in DR, it doesn't equire lots of money.

first off, thanks ken, thats the comments i was looking for, in your case positive.

another question, say you find out you have cancer, since it seems like tons of people die of some sort of cancer, is there equipment/Drs in the DR who have the knowledge/rescources to treat?


jimmydr...i've heard people say the same comment you have made about having money get best there is not only in health care but other things....my question now is, ok boom....you have a dominican man and an american woman who have a child who is really sick.....they walk into a dr office and say "hello my kids really sick needs emergency care, i got money." and proceed to take it out and show them? or do they point out which car in the parking lot they rolled up in? pay them up front?
and then, say the dr office believes a couple has money...what do they do then? whisk them out back thru the waiting room jam packed full of people? how does this really work???

and then there is the ambulance situation....when i was just down there, my husbands cousin was shot in the head and it took 3 hours for an ambulance to arrive...now say it was me that got shot in the head...would my husband call the ambulance place and say "i have money, please come quick and help my wife who was just shot in the head?"
 

Jimmydr

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audboogie said:
first off, thanks ken, thats the comments i was looking for, in your case positive.

jimmydr...i've heard people say the same comment you have made about having money get best there is not only in health care but other things....my question now is, ok boom....you have a dominican man and an american woman who have a child who is really sick.....they walk into a dr office and say "hello my kids really sick needs emergency care, i got money." and proceed to take it out and show them? or do they point out which car in the parking lot they rolled up in? pay them up front?
and then, say the dr office believes a couple has money...what do they do then? whisk them out back thru the waiting room jam packed full of people? how does this really work???

I walked into the clinic and asked to see a doctor and I was directed to the doctor. My novia has gone to the clinic with out me and has never had a problem either. The problems arise when you do not pay or have no intention of paying.
 

rellosk

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audboogie said:
i've heard people say the same comment you have made about having money get best there is not only in health care but other things...
I've heard that the cost of the first rate health providers in the DR is cheap by US standards, but still quite expensive.

Other ex-pats have said they have medical insurance to cover the cost. I'm not sure if Ken's procedures were paid via insurance or cash. If it's the latter, I'd like to hear the approximate cost of the various procedures.
 

audboogie

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rellosk said:
I've heard that the cost of the first rate health providers in the DR is cheap by US standards, but still quite expensive.

Other ex-pats have said they have medical insurance to cover the cost. I'm not sure if Ken's procedures were paid via insurance or cash. If it's the latter, I'd like to hear the approximate cost of the various procedures.

yes me too rellosk...good question....the only experience i have is when i got sick with wonderful diarreah that attacks every visit, and it cost me approx. 5 US dollars to get a number to see the doctor.
 

Ken

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Price varies with location. Costs more in Santo Domingo than in Puerto Plata.

The doctor I use for respiratory problems is in Puerto Plata and is as good as you will find anywhere. I pay her RD$500 for an office call.

The doctors, and that includes most of our doctors, in Santo Domingo charge more and depends on the reason for the office call. There I pay RD$1,000-$2,000 depending on why I am there.

My wife had a hip replacement in Santo Domingo a year ago and paid approximately US$5,000 for the operation, doctors fees and hospital room for the 5 nights she was there in a semi private room. This was at Clinica Abreu, one of the best hospitals in the country.

Recently I had cataract surgery on both eyes and paid US$1,300 per eye including 5 follow up checks. Latest materials used and the medical team in a very modern operating room was the surgeon, anesthesiologist and 2 surgical nurses who work only on eye operations.

My insurance is in the US so I pay in cash or credit card and put in a claim for reimbursement.

If I had cancer, I would start here and then be guided by the doctor's advice. If the treatment best for me is available here, I would stay. If not , I would go.

If I was afflicted with something that prevented me from going to the US, one way or another I would get at least as far as Santo Domingo where the doctors I know and trust would give me the best possible care.

All the doctors I go to in Santo Domingo know each other and trust each other. All have been recommended by other doctors. For example, the doctor who did Barbara's hip replacement was recommened by one of our doctors who took his mother to the same doctor for a hip replacement.

The best care in this country is in Santo Domingo and Santiago. We go to Santo Dominigo because we lived in Samana for many years and that is where the bus went. If we had started off in Sosua, where we are now, we might have gone to Santiago.

To somebody moving to the DR and planning to make this your home, my advice is to establish relationships now with doctors in Santo Domingo or Santiago. Get recommendations for first class doctors from people on this board to get started. We started with a gastoenterologist/internist recommended to us by a doctor we trusted in Puerto Rico. Whenwe needed another specialty, we asked him for a recommendation. That is how we built our "team" of doctors over time. Because we did that, all our doctors know us and know each other; I feel we are in the hands of a team of specialests that will do their best for us.

I'd advise anybody to try to do the same before you find yourself desperate for good medical care. If you do, you will worry less about medical emergencies.
 

Ken

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I should have mentioned that we rarely go to general practioners. Virtually all of our medical care is provided by Dominican specialists, most of whom were educated in the US, Europe, or Canada.

The general practioner we go to is Dr. Plaut at Servi-Med in Cabarete, a doctor from Germany.

Doing this is more trouble than always going to a nearby general practioner and it means staying over night in Santo Domingo. Buot we think it is worthwhile because when you have a serious problem you want to know who to call and expect to get immediate attention. When Barbara broke her hip, we called our gastroenterologist for a recommendation. He was out of office but his secretary tracked him down and called us back with the info. Meantime, our doctor called the recommended doctor and told him to expect us. He also called the emergency room and told them to expect us to be arriving by ambulance. When we got there, the emergency room people were waiting for us an immediately called the orthopedic surgeon, who came right over to talk with us and make plans for the surgery a couple of hours later.

If our doctors were in Santiago, we could probably go and return the same day. In Santo Domingo we have been staying for years in a small hotel that is very close to Clinica Abreu and all our doctors. We pay RD$600 for one bed and RD$750 for 2 beds. Not luxurious, but clean, in a safe neighborhood, and where we are treated like family members because we have been going there for so long.
 

Jimmydr

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Ken said:
I should have mentioned that we rarely go to general practioners. Virtually all of our medical care is provided by Dominican specialists, most of whom were educated in the US, Europe, or Canada.

The general practioner we go to is Dr. Plaut at Servi-Med in Cabarete, a doctor from Germany.

Doing this is more trouble than always going to a nearby general practioner and it means staying over night in Santo Domingo. Buot we think it is worthwhile because when you have a serious problem you want to know who to call and expect to get immediate attention. When Barbara broke her hip, we called our gastroenterologist for a recommendation. He was out of office but his secretary tracked him down and called us back with the info. Meantime, our doctor called the recommended doctor and told him to expect us. He also called the emergency room and told them to expect us to be arriving by ambulance. When we got there, the emergency room people were waiting for us an immediately called the orthopedic surgeon, who came right over to talk with us and make plans for the surgery a couple of hours later.

If our doctors were in Santiago, we could probably go and return the same day. In Santo Domingo we have been staying for years in a small hotel that is very close to Clinica Abreu and all our doctors. We pay RD$600 for one bed and RD$750 for 2 beds. Not luxurious, but clean, in a safe neighborhood, and where we are treated like family members because we have been going there for so long.
You truly are a wealth of info. At age 42, I find myself needing doctors more often. Many thanks.