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Aug 06 2015

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In the Mailbag – Healthcare in Costa Rica: The Doctor Saved His Life

Our newsletters and posts generate lots of discussion, on our website, in emails, and on facebook. Here’s a glimpse into our mailbag about healthcare in Costa Rica.

From Nel C.:

Last year, my husband, Blue, collapsed in our dining room in the early hours of the morning.  I heard a noise and got up and found him unconscious.  I called 911 and they called Red Cross ambulance.  There was no one at the station and when they did finally get through, they still took about a hour to get to us, even though the station is only about a mile from our house.

We took him to Clinica Biblica first, even though we had no insurance, because they had a file on him and he needed immediate help.  He stayed there until I ran out of money and then we had him transferred to a public hospital, San Juan de Dios.  He spent the first day in the ER and then they shifted him to ICU.  He spent 2 weeks there and then he was moved to a ward.  He spent a total of 2 months in a Caja hospital.

The care he received was impeccable.  The nurses were wonderful, the doctors so good.  At one point, I was told Blue wasn’t going to make it but it almost seemed like the doctor was determined not to let that happen.  I sat with the doctor for half an hour talking about what could be going wrong (no one knows my hubby like I do).  The doctor changed some meds and did some other procedure and lo and behold, he saved Blue’s life.  We were lucky in that we had an English speaking doctor and a couple of nurses who were also pretty good at it!  Between my halting Spanish and their English, we got along just fine.

I cannot say enough about the care he received through the Caja.  Since then, he has been seeing a doctor at the Ebais regularly.  She looks after him and me.  And not a penny to be spent on anything other than the premiums which, to me, are very reasonable!   I’m so glad we took Residency when we did.  This whole thing could have been a financial disaster for us.

By the way… the going rate for Clinica Biblica was about $4,000/day.  Another North American was in San Juan de Dios while Blue was there and he had no Caja.  They were charging him $1,000/day for everything.

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