Doctors and Hospitals in Mexico

Friday, August 1, 2014

Assisted Living in Mexico

The Golden Years South of the Border
Assisted living is one of the services that Americans look for in Mexico.

Let's understand first what assisted living is. At the end of their lives, many Americans find that they want to have the highest quality of life they can afford over a long period of time. Also, some people suffer from illnesses or diseases that need constant care. Finally, some children have to financially support for the care of their parents in their senior years. For all these people, assisted living becomes an economically viable option.

However, because assisted living is related to the quality of life in the long run, people want to have the best one they can get at a price they can support on a permanent basis. Many of these senior citizens or their patients find that they can get a much higher quality of assisted living in Mexico for the same price that they would pay for lower quality assisted living in the US.

There are three main types of assisted living:

Independent living. Independent living is the choice for retired people in reasonable good health. The service arranges for them a beautiful place to live, where they can participate in social activities and have medical services nearby. The price usually includes the services of a maid once a week, and meals, although many people choose to cook for themselves just for the pleasure of it. People who choose independent living don't have to worry about looking for a decent and safe place to live, or deal with landlords, plumbers, or electricians. The price allows them to have a high quality of life while saving money for future health care problems.

Assisted living. Assisted living is the choice of people who need regular medical care, have lost some of their independence capabilities, or just want to take life easier. In addition to the services of independent living, it includes programmed meals, and frequent healthcare services. People who are in assisted living typically enjoy or participate in social activities provided by the institution.

Nursing care. This service is reserved for people who have lost a lot of their independence capabilities, typically due to a physical or mental condition. This type of care is akin to hospital care. Depending on the case, it may include some basic social activities.

Institutions don't always fall neatly into one of these categories and their services may include one, two, or all three types of assisted living.

Finally, there is another reason why senior Americans choose to get assisted care in Mexico. In Mexico, senior people tend to be loved, respected, and appreciated. Mexicans see the elderly as a source of wisdom and experience. Sadly, it is something that Americans seem to have lost, judging from the increasing number of children who forget about their parents once they are sent to a nursing home.

If you'd like to know more about the healthcare system in Mexico, I suggest you get a copy of The English Speaker's Guide to Medical Care in Mexico.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Medical Humor

Some days it's harder to come up with something new. Today is one of those days. That's why I decided to share some medical jokes in today's post. Next Friday, I will be writing again.

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A lady came in for a routine physical at the Doctor’s office . “Here”, said the nurse, handing her a urine specimen container. “The bathroom is over there on your right. The Doctor will be with you in a few minutes.” A few minutes later the lady came out of the bathroom with an empty container and a relieved look on her face. “Thanks! But they had a toilet in there, so I didn’t need this after all!”

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Due to a job transfer, Brian moved from his hometown to New York City. Being that he had a very comprehensive health history, he brought along all of his medical paperwork, when it came time for his first check up with his new Doctor. After browsing through the extensive medical history, the Doctor stared at Brian for a few moments and said, ” Well there’s one thing I can say for certain, you sure look better in person than you do on paper!”


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Brian, one of the worlds greatest hypochondriacs, bumped into his Dr. one day at the supermarket. “Doc!” Brian exclaimed, “I’ve been meaning to tell you, remember those voices I kept on hearing in my head? I haven’t heard them in over a week!” “Wow! What wonderful news Brian! I’m so happy for you!” his Dr. exclaimed. “Wonderful?” asked a dismal looking Brian. “There’s nothing wonderful about it. I’m afraid my hearing is starting to go now!

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Sam goes to the doctor for his yearly checkup. “Everything is fine”, said the doctor, “You’re doing OK for your age.” “For my age?” questioned Sam, “I’m only 75, do you think I’ll make it to 80? “Well” said the doctor, “do you drink or smoke?” “No” Sam replied. “Do you eat fatty meat or sweets?” “No” said Sam “I am very careful about what I eat.” “How about your activities? Do you engage in thrilling behaviors like speeding or skiing? “No” said Sam taken aback, “I would never engage in dangerous activities.” “Well,” said the doctor, “then why in the world would you want to live to be 80?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Preparing and Recovering from Bariatric (Weight Loss) Surgery in Mexico


One of the most common procedures that Americans come to Mexico for is bariatric surgery, commonly known as weight loss surgery. Since weight loss surgery is normally not covered by health insurance, patients have to pay for it themselves. In the US, the costs of this type of surgery are so high that it's out of the reach of many people, or it would require a big chunk of their savings or cutting back in other expenses. This and the quality of the service of Mexican doctors, who typically have studied in the US, cause many Americans to decide to have their surgery in Mexico.

However, bariatric surgery is invasive, and in order to get long-term benefits, you should prepare for it.

Obviously, your doctor will have to evaluate you and take some tests. In general, you need to be in a reasonable good condition in order to be able to qualify for the surgery. You also need to be within a certain weight range, which will depend on your age, gender, and other factors. Your doctor may ask you to follow a certain diet for a period of time (from a couple of weeks to a couple of months) before the surgery. Alcohol and tobacco are typically restricted as well. It is important that you follow the instructions of the doctor to the letter, as making "exceptions" may lead to complications during or after the surgery.

Another good idea is to find out what type of medications you'll be taking and decide where to obtain them. They might be cheaper in Mexico, but you may not be able to bring enough of them to the US, or depending on the specifics of the law, none at all! Sometimes the name of the brand is different in Mexico than in the US. If you prepare, you won't find that you run out of medication or that you can't bring them into the US. In addition, the law is very strict and you can find yourself having to pay a hefty fine (or risking jail time) for something as innocuous as bringing back a small bottle of antibiotics, so this is one aspect you should definitively research about in advance.

If you plan to do any sightseeing in Mexico, do it before your surgery, always keeping in mind your dietary restrictions, specially alcohol.

Right after the surgery, it's common to feel nausea. You may be asked to stand up and even walk a little to avoid the formation of blood clots. Your doctor will instruct you on when you can start to move and how. Expect to wait at least a week before being able to move normally (although without great physical efforts), but even then you may still feel a little pain or discomfort. You might find it convenient to move to a hotel rather than staying at the hospital. One with a gym would be better, since you will have to follow an excercise routine, consisting mostly of walking. A treadmill will allow you to walk without going far from your room.

Your diet will have to be very restricted for a few days. You'll have to start with a liquid diet, broth, apple juice, tea, protein drinks, water, jello, etc. Coffee and milk are usually not an option. As the days go by, you'll be able to eat more solid food.

Sleeping may be an issue. Depending on the type of surgery, you'll have to avoid sleeping on a specific side. You'll have to train yourself to sleep on the other side. If, unfortunately, it's the same side you've always slept on, you may want to start the training while you're still back at home.

Finally, bring something that you can amuse yourself with. A couple of books or a laptop can greatly enhance your experience. I personally recommend a small Spanish phrasebook. Mexicans in hotels and hospitals will speak to you in English, but taxi drivers or other people might now. However, even if all you can say is "buenos días, me llamo Robert Ervin," that's more than enough to please Mexicans, who always love when Americans show they have made an effort in learning a phrase or two in Spanish.

If you are ready to get bariatric surgery in Mexico and all you need is a good surgeon, find one in The English Speaker's Guide to Doctors and Hospitals in Mexico.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Mexico to Host the World Medical Tourism Congress

12 million medical tourists per year
Mexico's position as the second most important medical tourism destination has managed to have the country selected as the host for the 7th World Medical Tourism Congress. The event will take place from the 20th to the 24th of September of 2014 in the nation's capital.

Renee-Marie Stephano, president of The Medical Tourism Association, sponsor of the event, recognizes the fact that thousands of Americans travel to Mexico, not just to enjoy its beaches, culture, and natural beauty, but also to get the health care that they can't afford in the United States.

So, how popular is Mexico as a medical tourism destination?

In 2013, 12 million international tourists came to Mexico for health related trips, which is the equivalent to 10% of the country's population. Out of those 6.5 million are Americans. The main reason they come to Mexico is the lower cost of health care and medical services. Depending on the procedure sought, an American patient can save from 40% to 90% of the money he would have payed in the United States.

Moreover, Americans are also lured by the short distance, which means cheaper transportation costs; the quality of the service, due to Mexican doctors typically receiving all or part of their training in the United States or Europe; and the warmth of the service, which is very different from the automated process in the United States.

Also, since the industry is generating $2.85 billion dollars per year, it's not a surprise that the Mexican government is investing in infrastructure, safety, and promotion for international tourists.

These numbers doesn't take into account the hundreds of thousands of Americans who have chosen to live in Mexico and that use the local medical services.

If you need health care and want to save from 40% to 90% of the cost, I suggest you get a copy of The English Speaker's Guide to Doctors and Hospitals in Mexico, where you will find the contact information of specialists of all kinds, in the most important cities of Mexico, and who have experience treating international patients.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Having a Rhytidectomy (face lift) in Mexico

Having a younger-looking face is reasonably easy with the help of today's technology and medical developments. One of the most common treatments people get in order to look younger is rhytidectomies. Don't let the name scare you tho, it's just the medical term for what people typically call a face lift.

In simple words, a face lift is a medical procedure that eliminates wrinkles and sagging  from your face. A surgeon typically eliminates and folds skin tissue. He may also stretch some of the skin. The procedure is done with general anesthesia.

Since every face is different, each surgery has to be customized for each patient. However, there are three areas that are commonly treated in a face lift: the bags under the eyes, the cheeks, and the neck. With time, these three elements add to the effect of giving a face an aging look

Very often, patients who get a face lift also get blerophasty eyelid surgery, another type of cosmetic surgery. This is to avoid having to go to surgery twice and because the areas that are going to be treated are very close. This way, they can get both benefits and go through the recovery process only once. Some patients decide to have other cosmetic surgery procedures at the same time for the same reason. These procedures include liposuction, tummy tucks, and others.

If you would like to get a face lift, you need to qualify for it. Here are some factors that are considered negative for patients who want to get a face lift:
  • Smoking
  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Poor wound healing
  • Poor blood circulation
  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Poor-self esteem
  • Poor perception of reality
Note that the three last ones are psychological. A person must have a healthy mind before undergoing any cosmetic surgery procedure.

Costs

Last time I checked, a face lift in the United States cost $10,000 dollars. However, the amount might have increased since then. Moreover, a face lift is normally not covered by health insurance, so a patient has to pay the whole procedure from his or her own pocket. In addition, some extra charges may apply, since hospitals don't typically disclose the full cost until after the procedure is done. In some cases, this leads to those infamous extravagant charges, like $400 dollars for clean sheets. You can read my post about these practices here.

This is why many Americans get their face lifts in Mexico, usually saving from 30% to 50 of the cost. Some of them decide to spend the money they saved in one of Mexico's destinations, like Cancun or Los Cabos, before getting their surgery.

However, you shouldn't compromise on quality when it comes to surgery performed on your person. If you want to have a face lift done by a renowned and qualified surgeon, get a copy of The English Speaker's Guide to Doctors and Hospitals in Mexico. This guide not only has the names, telephone numbers and addresses of cosmetic surgeons recommended by ex-pats in Mexico, it also has the names and contact information of every type of medical specialist in Mexico.




Monday, July 21, 2014

What Is a Breast Lift?

One of the procedures that foreign women come to Mexico for is a mastopexy, typically called breast lift. Don't confuse it with mammoplasty, the procedure used to augment the size of the breasts, commonly called a boob job.

A breast lift is used to give one or both breasts a more aesthetically pleasing form, usually by modifying the contour and elevation of the breasts. It is the 7th most common cosmetic procedure among medical tourists. In addition to its aesthetic benefit, it is also less risky than a mammoplasty.

The effects of a breast lift usually lasts for decades. Women get a breast lift to counter the effects of aging on the breasts, which causes them to sag. When this happens, many women feel less feminine or attractive. In the United States and Europe, this procedure tends to be expensive and it's not typically covered by health insurance, because it's cosmetic. However, in Mexico this procedure is much more affordable, and the low risk makes it even more attractive.

As with any surgical procedure, there are some factors to take into account. One of them is the viability of the tissue of the areola. The surgeon has to make sure that there are no factors that would affect its sensibility. If a woman is planning to have children in the future, the surgeon may have to make sure that she will be able to breast feed. Other factors to consider is bleeding and blood circulation, infections, reactions to anesthetics, and breast cancer (individually or in the family). All of these elements have to be studied before a patient is authorized to have a breastlift.

After the procedure, the patient needs to avoid exercise, sexual activity, or any activity that requires a lot of effort for at least 2 weeks. Light activity is typically authorized, although only your surgeon will be able to evaluate that. After the 2 weeks, the level of effort in activities can be increased in small increments. A patient normally has to keep certain habits for life after a breast lift, although these are not really disruptive to a normal life. She has to keep a good diet and exercise regularly, since overweight can cause the breasts to start sagging again. Also, the scars will be permanent, although they are difficult to see and will become even harder to see over time.

If you want to get a mastopexy in Mexico, and you want to contact a good, reputable surgeon, I suggest you consider getting a copy of The English Speaker's Guide in Mexico.

Friday, July 18, 2014

What to Do in Case of Scorpion Sting

I'm doing something that's typically very stupid. I was just stung by a scorpion and I'm here writing about it instead of going to the hospital.

I'm not suicidal. I already called the doctor and described the type of scorpion and the symptoms. The doctor told me to take an antihistamine, and look for certain symptoms. At any sight of the symptoms, I'm ready to take a taxi and go to the hospital. The type of scorpion that stung me (small and black) is not lethal to adults and it typically results in some fever and pain for a few hours.

Still, I have the taxi phone number ready.

Anyway, what to do in case of scorpion sting:


Scorpions are common in certain parts of Mexico, and you have to find out if the area that you're going to be in or live in has scorpions. Ask about the type of scorpion, the type of reaction, and what people do in case they get stung.

Also, get antihistamines and have them around. They can delay the reaction of the body to the poison and buy you extra, valuable time.

Finally, have a doctor's number nearby and find a hospital that's nearby. You may not be able to drive, so get the number of a taxi service that you can call 24/7. Obviously, it's much better if you know the name and address of a doctor or hospital nearby.

If you get stung, identify the color and size of the scorpion that stung you. The more clear it is (yellow or bright red) and the bigger it is, the more dangerous it is. Small black scorpions, the type that bit me, are the least dangerous.

Some people say that you have to capture the scorpion in order to show it to the doctor, but I find this approach impractical and might just get you stung again. Just stomp on the scorpion and then take the body to the doctor if you must.

Also, have some antihistamine. 25 gram pills will do for black scorpions, 50 for yellow ones.

If you were stung by a clear scorpion, go immediatley to a doctor. If you were stung by a black scorpion, it will probably not be an emergency, so you have more time to get help. Look for blocked throat, pain, or fever, in which case treat it as an emergency. If the affected person is a child or a senior citizen, treat it as an emergency.

Fortunately, in Mexico, emergency services aren't expensive. You'll end up paying around $50. If you go to a very expensive hospital, you may pay $200. Also, Mexican doctors have developed a very effective antidote against scorpion venom, since scorpion stings are not unheard of in certain parts of Mexico.

If you want to have a quick reference for finding a good, reliable doctor or hospital in the most common visited parts of Mexico, get a copy of The English Speaker's Guide to Doctors and Hospitals in Mexico. It is much better to have this information now and ready to use, since after a scorpion sting, you may not have a lot of time to find one, especially if it happens late at night or you don't speak Spanish well.