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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

1/4/2011 - Lulu's ear & Mexican health care

Lulu had a small sore spot on top of her ear that was likely caused by too much sun before she got religious about the sunscreen. Some fellow cruisers recommended Dr. Tuschman here in La Paz. We went to his office without an appointment yesterday morning. He wasn't in yet but a phone call by his receptionist affirmed that we should return in about an hour, which we did. Like all doctors, he wasn't super punctual but we only waited an extra 20 minutes or so. We've waited longer than that in the States when we DID have an appointment. The office and examining rooms were super clean. Lulu showed Dr. T the spot that concerned her. He asked a few historical questions (when did it start? has it grown? any known allergies? etc.) First, since it was so small, he suggested removing it now rather than waiting to see if it was going to get bigger. Then he told her the options: freeze it off, burn it off, cut it off (micro-surgery). She asked the pros and cons of each and the prices.

Freeze it off: might have to come back later for a second freeze. 800 pesos
Burn it off: will leave a small scar. 700 pesos
Micro-surgery: will leave the smallest scar of the three options. 1500 pesos

All three prices included the consultation.

Armed with such practical knowledge, she opted to have it burned off. He administered a local anesthetic and then, seconds later he was done. He put a teensy little band aid on and we were out of there. Paid the receptionist on the way out and we were done.

Compare this to the same thing stateside where insurance companies rule:
-We didn't fill out ANY paperwork. In spite of this being the first visit, we didn't have to fill out a bunch of medical history and insurance forms. Anything the doctor needed to know, he just asked. The question of HOW we would pay was never even brought up.
-Everything was done in one visit: consult and procedure. My experience in the states is that there would be at least 3 visits if we were a first time patient: consultation, procedure, follow-up. Each would have cost whatever the base rate is for an office visit and then any work that was done would be heaped on top.
-And finally, 700 pesos is about $56.00. Take a look at your last insurance statements for some simple procedure and compare.

We're happy to report that our first encounter with the Mexican health care system was everything we were led to believe it would be.


Anonymous said...

Since you guys are not cruising anymore...are you going to live aboard or buy a place?

Steve and Lulu said...

Wow! You've written us off as cruisers already? How often do we have to move to qualify? We still consider ourselves cruisers. We just happen to like to stay places longer than some folks do. Always have. We may be in La Paz until April. Maybe not. Doesn't mean we've swallowed the anchor. We plan to spend the spring meandering our way north in the Sea to be well north by May 1st. Summer will be spent sweltering in various anchorages in the northern Sea. Then back down to La Paz again in the fall. Maybe winter on the mainland next year.


Rich said...

Hey Steve- Hope this finds you guys well and LuLu's ear unthrobbing-thanks for the insight into you'all's (Texas word) gearing up Siempre Sabado-you are right about what we really need and what "THEY" say we need- I'm gonna try and figure out how to post pics on my blog and get some ZOSHA glamour shot up-take care my friend-and you are exactly right, if one is in the proper mindset, its "Always Saturday"
peace to you and LuLu...........