We always get lots of responses and questions from readers, both newsletter subscribers and on facebook. Here’s a note we received in our mailbag in response to the information we posted a while back about Hospital Metropolitano’s MediSmart program:
Hi Gloria & Paul
I broke my right hip end of June and had to go to Grecia Hospital. I broke this hip going out the kitchen door where the sidewalk is about 2″ higher & my foot did not clear it. When I finally landed on the cement sidewalk, my right hip was broken. The pain was unimaginable. The Red Cross ambulance came for me but getting into it was a nightmare. I broke the neck of the hip joint. Had to stay in a 6-bed ward for 7 days to get it fixed which was only temporary. 7 days later, surgery put 3 screws in to hold the bones that were left together. Would never walk again with this setup (the Doc did not tell me that.) I put up with that for 3 months.
We had joined Medismart some months before that & gives access to Hospital Metropolitano. We pay by the year for the discount. Went to see the Orthopod who speaks English very well and was extremely nice. He said everyone over 65 gets a hip replacement. He sent me for a hip x-ray plus knee as it was bothering me (coming from the hip).
He looked at the x-ray which showed the screws had backed out about 1/4″ plus were in the wrong place. The whole thing would have come apart over time & I would have been bedridden.
We talked about a hip replacement & the cost: $10,000 which included everything start to finish except the 2nd night in the hospital which added $162 to the bill.
Dr. Sequeira was my doctor. He went to school in Costa Rica but also in the US and goes back about every 6 months for a refresher. Whenever I called him with questions, he always answered the phone & gave me the answers. I told him I really admired that about him.
To get ready for surgery he sent a list of pre-op results he needed to make sure I was up to the surgery. I had those done in Grecia except for the EKG which a Cardiologist had to do.
Surgery was on October 27, 2016 (4 mos after the break). I went in Thursday morning; the nurses got me ready (they spoke English but the aides only a little). Surgery at 12:30; I came out with 24 staples about 2 hrs later. It was cold in the surgical suite so they put a hose under my blanket which blew nice warm air before and after surgery.
I was in the recovery room with a nurse sitting at the foot of the bed until they needed the space. Then back to my private room right off the surgical area; nurses station on the left side. My room had a TV on the wall; a hospital bed like US; a monitor for all the vitals plus a phone next to it. When I pushed the call button they were right there & got me what I needed.
Meals: 7am/noon/7pm. The dietician came in each time to ask what I wanted to eat. Thurs dinner was soup and fruit. Pancakes for breakfast; Tilapia, with either rice or mashed potatoes, sauteed veggy and fruit cup for lunch; about the same for supper. The tilapia was delicious. I don’t know how it was cooked but it was so good. I ate what was on my plate & for supper I did not eat the rice as it was too much food.
Friday: The physical therapist came in (wonderful English) showed me how to get out of & into bed so my bad leg was not dangling in thin air. I sat on the edge of the bed a few moments to stop the woozies, then with a walker, her, and a nurse (Stephanie) helped me walk around the foot of the bed to get in on the other side. No more walking that day. Did go through the exercises which I was shown.
Saturday: The physical therapist (Irena) helped me out of bed & with the walker walked out in the waiting room, circled around & back in my room. I did this twice. Stephanie brought me a chair so I sat in it until time to lay down. She came back & helped me.
The Doc came in both Friday and Saturday to see how I was doing. Nurse changed the bandage both days & sent me home with one more days change (we had to buy bandages for the next 4 days).
Also, the Doctor who is the hospital administrator paid me a visit. I told him what a great hospital this was. They now have 9 beds.
I came home with a bunch of meds they thought I might need. It took awhile to check out. Anticoagulant is now in a pill form at the hospital.
It is a very busy hospital. A lot of Ticos go there. It is on both sides of the road so traffic had to stop to cross. The Hospital is on one side and doctors offices are on the other.
This is a wonderful hospital. There is a deli on the same floor as the doctors offices. The male attendants pushed me in a wheelchair wherever I needed to go; they would not let friends do it.
My doctors office visit was 18,000 colones; labs were extra. MediSmart’s website lists what the office visit costs for each type of doctor.
It was great. I highly recommend it. Every care was taken care of. Patients do have to have money to go there or are shipped back to the CCSS hospital. No thanks.
Staples come out the 19th in the doctors office. I am walking very well with the walker. My knee is still sore on the medial side.
Ex-pats should know what a great place it is.
- MediSmart: An Affordable Alternative to Private Health Insurance in Costa Rica
- Read our other In The Mailbag columns at this link.