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brooklyn

May 5, 2009, 12:38 PM

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Access to medical specialists at Lakeside

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My wife and I are retirees, thinking of retiring to Lakeside. At our age we have the usual collection of aches and pains, nothing serious.

Can anyone inform me as to how we would get treatment by medical specialists in Ajijic, Guadalajara, or thereabouts?

We live now in Toronto, and our family doctor has a long roster of specialists (doctors at one of the hospitals, or professors at the medical school) to whom he refers if necessary. Toronto, like most big cities, has a large number of excellent physicians.

Of course, with the Canadian medical system, there is no charge, which works fine for us, despite occasional wisecracks we hear about our having "socialized medicine" (No, I don't think it's free. The money comes out of tax revenues.). Also, as Seniors, we can fill almost any prescription for $4.11 (The Province of Ontario coughs up the rest.).

I don't expect to find that in Mexico.

I know a lilittle about the Mexican system. There are evidently a few private clinics arounf Ajijic, as well as the IMSS (in Chapala, I think). I have read various opinions about the IMSS - many people say that the physicians are quite good, but their equipment is sometimes not up to NOB standards, and also, a knowledge of Spanish is recommended (I have some Spanish, enough to order a restaurant meal, but not to describe a medical condition).

If we were in Ajijic, and needed the services of, say, a qualified opthmologist, cardiologist or endocrinologist, what would be the best way of finding one?



JeanMoc


May 5, 2009, 1:08 PM

Post #2 of 21 (9260 views)

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Re: [brooklyn] Access to medical specialists at Lakeside

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I know the Lake Chapala Society maintains lists of doctors and specialists. The doctor in the Ajijic clinic on the carretara speaks good English, and we found his services excellent; he would probably also be a good referral source.


cristalhombre


May 5, 2009, 2:55 PM

Post #3 of 21 (9238 views)

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Re: [brooklyn] Access to medical specialists at Lakeside

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Thought I might respond to one aspect of your narrative. IMSS.

I have not been a patient or a member of IMSS. However in 2001 while staying in Oaxaca for a month attending a language school, several of my classmates were medical providers. A couple of the Docs visiting from Seattle invited me one day to the large IMSS facility in Oaxaca City (just across the street from the school in el centro). They were a part of a "Med-exchange" teaching Mexican Doctors about NEW techniques in joint replacement. The Orthopedic MD's from Seattle both worked at Harborview Hosp, which is the UW teaching hospital and trauma center for King County (downtown Seattle). These are the guys who are called in to rebuild "Humpty Dumpty", if you catch my drift and they do it day after day.

They were very satisfied with the level of care and overall conditions of the IMSS facility in Oaxaca. They did indicate that some of the materials used in the hip replacement that I actually watched (pretty amazing) were not the latest and greatest "state of the art" products, but very acceptable!

These guys were over in the Hospital about every other day and I never heard them mention that the care was sub-standard. Over a period of one month we heard the many trauma surgeries (en español) where the two Seattle Docs assisted the Mexican Docs. They were very complimentary of the cleanliness of the place and competency of the providers.

It was nice to hear such comments from Professionals who know how hospitals + staff should function.

I will tell you that the place was NOT at all like the Hospitals here in the states, which now include waterfalls, a harpist in the entry, barista's serving lattes, soothing art work everywhere (they look like grand hotels) NO WAY...... the IMSS hospital was lime-green tile everywhere, highlighted by those nasty fluorescent tube lights and not one sign of creature comfort. But when it comes to "health care" these two Docs both gave it a "thumbs up"............and that was in Oaxaca, which in my opinion is considerably more primitive than Jalisco (just my observation of the culture).

Hopefully some of the Expat-IMSS patients (here on M/C) will post with their actual experiences. (pro and con - I am sure there are other opinions). That will give you a better snapshot. My experience was eight years ago, so things may have changed.

We have a huge HMO here in the Western US called "Kaiser Permanente" and the patients either LOVE Kaiser or just the opposite! You probably hear the same in Canada about your system.

Buena suerte





"NOT ALL WHO WANDER ARE LOST...."


mkdutch

May 6, 2009, 11:00 AM

Post #4 of 21 (9178 views)

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Re: [brooklyn] Access to medical specialists at Lakeside

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You've already had some thoughful replies - following are a couple of comments: Guadalajara is the home of at least one Medical School. Many who practice medicine in Guad and Lakeside have had some or extensive training in the USA. There are a number of private hospitals in Guad, unlike the typical arrangement in the USA. Some are very highly regarded ; check out their staff. Mexico sometimes is the beneficiary of state-of-the-art technology sooner than the USA, due to the longer FDA, etc. approval of it than in Mexico; for example, Laser-Eximer equipment from Eupope. As in any country, there are excellent physicians and others whose skills are sorely lacking. Doctors are generally reluctant to criticize one another. So the onus is on the patient to discriminate. An effective way to separate the chaff from the wheat is word-of-mouth. This forum can help in that regard - just use the search engine. Talking to others who live Lakeside but don't post on the two major Forums is another. Perhaps your Doctor knows of someone or some professional association that could provide recommendations. Bottom line: excellent and caring medical services are available in the area, which are equal to or better than you typically find in the USA (or Canada, I presume). You just have to do some digging - which it appears you will have the time to do with no pressing needs now. Buena Suerte...........Dutch P.S. There's a "Dr. Garcia - Garcia" that a Lakeside friend swears by as have other posters on this forum.


brooklyn

May 6, 2009, 11:46 AM

Post #5 of 21 (9167 views)

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Re: [mkdutch] Access to medical specialists at Lakeside

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I'd like to thank everyone who posted answers to my question. Mkdutch is right, Toronto, like many other places has some world-class physicians and some downright bunglers; the idea is to tell one from another. Of course, this is easier in your native language than , for me, in Spanish, in which I am sesquilingual (speaking one and one-half languages)

As an example, many years ago, I was spending a year in Saltillo, and decided to take a trip to Mexico City. before I went, someone gave me the name and address of a doctor in Mexico City, whom, he said, I could rely upon if I had an emergency.

The third night I was in Mexico City, I developed a stomach ache which was, it was becoming more and more obvious, was not just turista. I called the doctor recommended to me, who turned out to be a highly respected physician, but a small detail was not mentioned, he was an opthamologist.

Fortunately, I had enough strength to stagger into the street and find a cab to take me to the American-British Cowdray hospital, where the emergency room physician informed me, in excellent English, that I had acute appendicitis. By 4 AM one of Mexico City's top surgeons was removing my appendix.

I might add that, at that time, my private room in which I spent a week, cost me US$10 a night. The surgeon charged the equivalent of US$50


ms mac

May 6, 2009, 12:00 PM

Post #6 of 21 (9161 views)

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Re: [mkdutch] Access to medical specialists at Lakeside

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There was a doctor in Chapala who used unconventional methods of treatment. Some people called him the witch doctor. I believe his name started with H. Herruda or something? I wonder if he still practices?
ms mac


N5129r

May 9, 2009, 4:43 AM

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Re: [ms mac] Access to medical specialists at Lakeside

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One thing you need to consider IMHO and that is you must be your own best medical advocate in any setting. This means, if there is time, learn about your options so you can communicate intelligently with your doctor. As an example:

About a year ago I knew a woman Lakeside who felt a lump in her breast; she got a mamo and then a sonogram and all medical persons agreed a biopsy was in order.

When talking to the Oncologist, the lady was told they would/could do the biopsy and have the results right then and there and if it was Cancer, remove it. The sonogram showed the tumor to be 5cm (I think this was the measure - VERY small). The doctor said he would remove the quadrant (1/4) of the breast that contained the tumor; the lady balked and said she just wanted a lumpectomy (lots of learning from Dr. Google). The doctor said he could take 1/8 of the breast but the woman said she wanted only the tumor and a small amount of margin taken (maybe the size of a 10 centavo piece. He agreed and it was a done-deal with clear margins.

My point being, that while the doctor was 100% plus caring, competent, communicative, supportive, etc. (and probably about 40-years old and practicing Oncology for 15 years), he didn't seem to be up on the latest technique for a lumpectomy.

You will find many good and some excellent doctors Lakeside and if a specialist is needed, there is always going to be a referral; sometimes the specialist comes Lakeside once a week to see referrals.

Finally, I have been in some hospitals in Guadalajara (and one facility Lakeside) and have found them to be on par with NOB facilities with prices ranging from 10% to 50% of those NOB.

Hope this helps.
DISCLAIMER: When I state something as a fact, it will be because I have researched the point or have personal knowledge of it; everything else should be considered as my opinions, to which I am entitled as are the readers. Please let's all respectfully give the other a right to have a differing opinion.

(This post was edited by N5129r on May 9, 2009, 5:14 AM)


Hound Dog

May 9, 2009, 5:57 AM

Post #8 of 21 (9064 views)

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Re: [N5129r] Access to medical specialists at Lakeside

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One thing you need to consider IMHO and that is you must be your own best medical advocate in any setting

I second that in spades. I will make my comments on that subject under the Southern Mexico Forum as my recent dreadful experience was in Chiapas and therein lies an interesting story in and of itself. For here, let me just state that two teams of doctors in San Cristóbal - one a team of brain specialists and one a team of specialists in digestive problems - decided there were two entirely separate problems I had experienced that caused me to have a seizure. The brain guys wanted to send me over bad country roads all the way to Villahermosa for a brain scan and that probably would have killed me. The digestion specialist correctly diagnosed my problem as involving my gall bladder. I had to make the decision as to who was right and who was wrong. I chose the gall bladder guy thank God and as a result I´m still on the planet instead of in it.

By the way, my insurance company does not seem to like the hospitals in San Cristóbal and, after a few days in the filthiest hospital I´ve ever seen, I tend to agree with them. If you are going to get really sick, I suggest you do so in or near Guadalajara if possible. This is serious stuff. Incidentally, I have medical air evacuation coverage but now that they know I have chosen to live in rural Chiapas voluntarily a few months every year, they will no longer fly me to Mexico City of Guadalajara in an emergency since - as they say - that is my decision and my responsibility therefore my problem.


jreboll

May 9, 2009, 6:05 AM

Post #9 of 21 (9065 views)

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Re: [N5129r] Access to medical specialists at Lakeside

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You will find that even here NOB doctors will disagree among themselves as to the amount to excise. I once asked a surgeon what he would do if the patient was his wife or daughter and he said "I would cut it all off. Why take chances."
However, the patient's wishes are always paramount when the decision is made.


brooklyn

May 9, 2009, 8:57 AM

Post #10 of 21 (9041 views)

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Re: [Hound Dog] Access to medical specialists at Lakeside

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Okay. So here I am in my house in Ajijic and I'm feeling sick, really sick. In Toronto, I would just go, by car if I could drive, otherwise by cab, to the emergency room at Toronto General.

But what do I do in Ajijic?. Try to stick it out until morning and go to one of the Ajijic clinics? Try to get to Guadalajara, and go - where?


Malaya

May 9, 2009, 9:00 AM

Post #11 of 21 (9039 views)

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Re: [brooklyn] Access to medical specialists at Lakeside

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You go to the local clinics that are open 24 hours. And you won't wait 3-5 hours as you would at the hospital in Toronto.


Gringal

May 9, 2009, 2:08 PM

Post #12 of 21 (8996 views)

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Re: [ms mac] Access to medical specialists at Lakeside

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I think his name is Heredia, and I understand that he is a M.D. who has also studied Chinese Medicine. Some people speak highly of their experience with him.


Gringal

May 9, 2009, 2:18 PM

Post #13 of 21 (8994 views)

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Re: [brooklyn] Access to medical specialists at Lakeside

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If you have established a relationship with one of the local family physicians, he will have provided you with phone numbers to reach him 24/7. Furthermore, if you call him in the middle of the night, he will be very likely to come to your house and from there, shepherd you through whatever next step is appropriate. When I was seriously ill, my family doctor said to call him at any hour, if needed.

Your other option is to head for the local clinic.

In all cases, you should be your own medical advocate. Even so, Senor Google does not offer medical degrees to web-surfers. Listen to the doc, carefully.


ms mac

May 9, 2009, 2:31 PM

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Re: [Gringal] Access to medical specialists at Lakeside

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I went to h im years ago. When I would try to open my mouth, my jaw would lock. My dentist here wanted to put me in orthodontia for 2 years. I went to this fellow and he cured me in one visit.
ms mac


Hound Dog

May 10, 2009, 5:49 AM

Post #15 of 21 (8939 views)

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Re: [brooklyn] Access to medical specialists at Lakeside

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Okay. So here I am in my house in Ajijic and I'm feeling sick, really sick. In Toronto, I would just go, by car if I could drive, otherwise by cab, to the emergency room at Toronto General.

But what do I do in Ajijic?. Try to stick it out until morning and go to one of the Ajijic clinics? Try to get to Guadalajara, and go - where?


Well, it´s true there are several local clinics at Lakeside and some are open 24/7. If you are really sick drive or take a taxi or ambulance to one of those clinics. Alternatively, take the Red Cross ambulance to one of the really fine hospitals in Guadalajara such as Del Carmen or San Javier which are about 45 minutes to an hour away. Del Carmen is the best hospital I have ever seen euither in Mexico, the U.S. or Europe. Guadalajara, Mexico City and Monterrey are noted for their excellent hospitals. The difference in service between the big city hospitals I´ve been in in Mexico and the dreadful Kaiser Parmanente and other HMO plans I beloned to in Northern California is astonishing. Give me the better private hospitals in Mexico any day.

This is just my opinuion but I would only use those Lakeside clinics in an emergency. Some of the doctors who come to these clinics from Guadalajara are, shall we say, opportunistic and may want to use you to cover that overhead. .


Hound Dog

May 10, 2009, 5:54 AM

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Re: [ms mac] Access to medical specialists at Lakeside

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I don´t remember his name but I went to see a big fat doctor in Chapala about seven years ago who had a reputation for being, well, different. He wanted a hig hug which was pretty funny since I´m a fatso myself so you can imagine the scene. He prescribed Lipitor for me without even giving me a blood test and since my cholesteral level was about 125 I never took the Lipitor nor did I ever visit that doctor agaion.


ms mac

May 10, 2009, 6:04 AM

Post #17 of 21 (8936 views)

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Re: [Hound Dog] Access to medical specialists at Lakeside

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That wouldn't be Heredia. He was thin and not a hugger, just a little offbeat.
ms mac


Gringal

May 10, 2009, 9:55 AM

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Re: [Hound Dog] Access to medical specialists at Lakeside

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I dunno about that "big fat doctor", but I'd file that one under "USE YOUR BEANIE", which you did. If a doc anywhere prescribes medicine without tests......I think it's safe to assume he's at best, lazy.

Hug your doc? Naaah.


ms mac

May 10, 2009, 11:10 AM

Post #19 of 21 (8900 views)

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Re: [Gringal] Access to medical specialists at Lakeside

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I would like to hug my doc. He is one good looking dude. But no, I keep things professional.
ms mac


zoekatz

May 26, 2009, 11:33 AM

Post #20 of 21 (8706 views)

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Re: [brooklyn] Access to medical specialists at Lakeside

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Dear Brookln,

My husband and I lived in Ajijic for four years and are planning to return - permanently - as soon as our home in the U.S. sells. Here is my experience regarding healthcare in that area:

There are two good-sized clinics in town with English speaking doctors and staff and very reasonable prices. My husband and I used to go to both of them as needed for routine immunizations, cold, flu, prescriptions or other minor ailments. For our annual exams we went to a very fine internist in Guadalajara. I will have to look up his name and phone number for you if you want it. We simply adore him and trust him totally.

At one point I fell and fractured my ankle and went to the Maskaras Clinic (on Friday) where it was x-rays and set and told to return Monday when the orthopedic sugeon would be there. I saw a very fine orthopedic sugeon on Monday (he comes to the clinic once or twice a week). He re-x-rayed my ankle and put on another cast and saw me routinely until it healed. All of this cost somewhere around $150. U.S. What a deal!!!!

I had a minor skin lesion removed by a plastic surgeon in Guadalajara at a cost of about $100. U.S. - including the pathology.

I had a total hysterectomy at the Hospital del Carmen in Guadalajara and couldn't have been happier. My fabulous gynecologist was Dr. Villereal Klaus. We did not have Mexican health insurance so we paid cash - $4,000 for all the doctors and hospital. Our co-payment in the U. S. would have been more than that.

I thought I was having a heart problem and Dr. Garcia at the Ajijic Clinic called a cardiologist in Guadalajara who met me at this office ON A SATURDAY to do an echo-cardiogram. He gave me a written report of his findings as well as a video of the cardiogram and he couldn't have been nicer. He told me exactly what other cariologists in the U.S. told me..... prolapsed mitral valve - nothing serious.

My take on the medical situation is this - I would definitely go to the local doctors in Ajijic for minor things. But I would go to the doctors in Guadlajara (and the hosptials there) for something serious. You can purchase private Mexican health insurance that will cover you in Mexico and enable you to go to the best doctors and hosptials. By the way, there are at two very fine private hosptials in Guadalajara - San Javier and del Carmen. I personally would not be comfortable with the IMSS (public) healthcare system. That's just me. You will find that you can obtain private healthcare insurance in Mexico for a fraction of what you would pay in the U.S. and you will get excellent, qualified care.

There is a book published that lists and critiques various doctors and hospitals in Mexico. I can try to find the name if you're interested. This is how I find my doctors in Guadalajara.

Bottom line is you will be just fine with the medical care in this area. My bigger concern is what happens if you/we have a heart attack or stroke where time is of the essence. When we lived there the ambulance (Cruz Roja) did not have any serious life support systems in their ambulance. Perhaps now they have paddles, etc. I sure hope so. I still have a concern about getting to Guadalajara quickly in an emergency - and/or getting the immediate medical care in Ajijic to stabilize a heart attack or stroke until I could get to Guadalajara. But my husband says - that's life. No guarantees. Where we live now in the U.S. we can get to a hospital in about 5 minutes. But the ER is staffed by Physicians' Assistants - not MDs - and I don't have much confidence that they would do any better.

Hope this info. helps you. Feel free to e-mail me privately if I can be off assistance. I think you will enjoy Ajijic. ZK


Rolly


May 26, 2009, 12:11 PM

Post #21 of 21 (8703 views)

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Re: [zoekatz] Access to medical specialists at Lakeside

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The book is Mexico: Health and Safety Travel Guide

Look here: http://www.amazon.com/...tag=thepeoplsguideto#

Rolly Pirate
 
 
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