Health Care And Medical Costs In Panama

Health Care And Medical Costs In Panama

“As you know, I dislocated my shoulder on Isla Iguana outside Pedasi,” writes a friend who visited Panama for the first time last month.

“It was a good thing, in the end, in so many ways. As my daughter put it, ‘Mom, you have all the fun and interesting experiences…’

“As my shoulder was so way out of joint, they had to put me under general anesthesia to manipulate it back in. Then they kept me overnight in the hospital.

“Great care, even if it was completely in Spanish.

“Then came time for payment. We have insurance, but everything had to be paid up front.

“We paid US$15 for the X-ray and US$50 for the elastic sling, then we waited nervously to find out about all the other charges (two hospital stays, one in Pedasi and a second one in Las Tablas; the ambulance ride; the surgery room; the hospital staff…all on Easter Sunday).

“We worried about how we were going to be able to access enough cash to cover the bills. Would we have to sell the house, the kids?

“Hardly. The total cost was US$20. Yes, US$20. The doctor gave me a prescription for five days of pain pills. The cost for this was 36 cents!

“Also, Kathleen, I’m enjoying your writing on Panama, but I have to comment on the ‘negative things’ you mention. Not that I disagree with some of them, but I have to say that I didn’t see a bug, a fly, a mosquito, or a snake during our entire visit. Maybe they only come out in the rainy season…”

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