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In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 3rd decade of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

         

Pricing of a Medical Emergency in Guatemala

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

Cautions over medical care

It’s an understandable fear.

Many North Americans are concerned about the quality, price and availability of medical services in a strange land. When we visit overseas we look for adventure, but not of the medical kind. Yet we can’t live in a bubble or keep ourselves fastened to a few miles’ radius of hospitals and clinics the rest of our lives – Where’s the fun in that?

 *Stuff happens* and even the most adventurous among us can find ourselves face-to-face with a surprise health event and must deal with it on foreign soil.

Personal Guatemala medical experience

Our unexpected medical journey over the last two months took us to Guatemala’s national hospital, Pedro de Bethancourt, a plastic surgeon in Guatemala City with his own personal operating room on the ninth floor and a panoramic view of the capital city below, to the inside of a hyperbaric chamber for oxygen therapy. We’ve visited an array of pharmacies for medicines, gauze, and splinting paraphernalia, and spent too many hours inside a personally hired taxi for our circuitous route from Antigua to Guatemala City.

During this time I’ve had emergency services, dozens of private appointments, local anesthesia, drip anesthesia and pain meds. I have been stitched up, cut up, oxygenated, X-Rayed and skin grafted.

 What does something like that cost?

You want numbers? We got numbers! And they are all listed below. But we have to say, these numbers don’t tell the whole story.

 

Akaisha's right ring finger was de-gloved

It’s called de-gloving

On September 8, 2012, after a celebratory birthday lunch in the city of Antigua, we headed back to our village. Upon leaving the bus, my family heirloom wedding rings caught on something as I took the last step down, and my right-handed ring finger was “de-gloved.” Immediately, Billy grabbed a tuk-tuk and we arrived at the emergency room of Pedro de Bethancourt National Hospital where four doctors attended to me. My rings were cut off and I was given local anesthesia, a tetanus shot, was stitched up, wrapped up and sent home. These doctors answered all our questions, wrote prescriptions and made sure an appointment was scheduled for the beginning of the following week.

 

Dr. Galindo's private operating room, panoramic view

A day and a half later my painful finger looked cold and lonely so I returned to Bethancourt. Doctors unwrapped my hand, took an X-ray and two different surgeons spoke to me. Much of the tissue on my finger was already dead and the danger was that I might lose it. The head surgeon gave me the name of a Guatemala City specialist.

I was not charged for any of these medical services and care was personal and attentive.

Moving on to the big time

Billy and I discussed our alternatives and decided to phone Lori Shea from Guatemala Medical Travel. We had interviewed her previously about Medical Tourism for our website and liked the work she was doing. Lori jumped into action, contacted Dr. Galindo - a hand surgeon and President of the Plastic Surgery Association - and arranged for a consultation in Guatemala City that afternoon.

My dominant hand was injured and I could not fill out the paperwork myself so Lori took all my medical history. She accompanied us into the office, chatted with the doctor, and helped get us a better price for services by keeping me out of the hospital. We chose to deal directly with Dr. Galindo and use the hyperbaric chamber that was located four floors up in this same medical building. That evening after seeing the surgeon and having oxygen therapy, Lori drove us home. Concierge services were donated and Lori only charged us a “taxi fee” to get us to and from the city.

   

Medical specifics

Over the next six weeks, I had ten Hyperbaric Chamber treatments, one given to me on a National holiday where the therapist had to come into the office especially for me. I had eleven visits with Dr. Galindo – three of which were on weekends or the National holiday, and two for which we were not charged. The price quoted below includes all consultations, local anesthesia, one “mini surgery” of cutting away the dead tissue on my finger, and the skin graft, which included the services of two nurses and an anesthesiologist.

The fee for our personal driver covers dozens of trips over mountain roads in both clear and rainy weather. Hernan picked us up at the agreed time, drove us to the city, waited for all appointments to finish and then drove us back home hours later. He was reliable, courteous and professional.

Received 10 Hyperbaric Chamber sessions

Prescription costs include antibiotics, pain medication, anti-inflammatories, medication to encourage vein re-growth, gauze, tape, hydrogen peroxide, splint equipment, ointment, etc.

 

 

 

National Hospital (emergency care, stitches)

Prescription Meds 

X-Ray (3 shots different angles)

Dr. Galindo (11 visits)

Hyperbaric Chamber (10 treatments)

Total for Medical

+Transport (16 trips, Antigua - Guate City)

Total Adventure Cost

 

$0

$217

$38 (special secondary X-Ray at private clinic)

$1,050

$594

$1,899.00 USD

$  959.00

$2858.00 USD

 

Modern medical services in Guatemala

Instead of an amputation, I have a living finger expected to be rehabbed into full working order. While $3,000USD is not “free,” pricing charged was fair and reasonable, and service was humane and professional. On every level of assistance, people were personable and supportive of my condition. I was not a patient number or someone’s car payment and not once was I rushed. 

Shocking health accidents are unpleasant under the best of circumstances. However, here in Guatemala, treatment was both affordable and accessible. These specific details should put some space between you and the fears you may hold for receiving medical assistance in a foreign country.

For more information on this topic, see:

Medical Tourism

Comments on Going Naked; Health Insurance

Billy Personally Tests Medical Tourism in Guatemala

Billy's Medical Tourism Follow Up

The Number One Retirement Fear

 

 

 

Hospital Nacional Pedro de Bethancourt, San Felipe de Jesus, Antigua, Guatemala, Tele: 7831. 1319 to 7831. 1325
Guatemala Medical Travel, Antigua, Guatemala, Tele: 502. 5737. 3023 Interview with Lori Shea, Owner, Guatemala Medical Travel Email questions to Lori@GuatemalaMedicalTravel.com Bilingual
 

Plastic Surgery, Reconstructive Hand Surgery - Dr. Juan Carlos Galindo in Guatemala City. Edificio Sixtino, 6ta Avenida 6-63, Zona 10, Tele: 502. 2269. 7071 or 2269.7072 or 2269. 7073 or 2269. 7074. Cell: 5202. 6280 Email: JCGalindo 57@gmail.com or JCGalindo57@yahoo.com Bilingual
 

Hyperbaric Chamber Therapy - Licda. Ana Lucky Potrillo, Edificio Sixtino, 6ta Avenida 6-63 Zona 10. Guatemala City, Tele: 2269. 7259 or 5208. 5515 or 5472. 2946 Speaks some English
 

Clinicas Medicas San Sebastian, 5 Avenida Calle Poniente #44, La Antigua, Guatemala. Internal Medicine and Electrocardiograph clinic. Doctora Rosa Julia Chiroy Munoz, Tele: 7832. 7019, Cell: 5723. 0780 Email: draalbagabriel3@hotmail.com
 

Reliable Taxi Driver Hernan in Antigua Tele:4534. 3651

 

About the Authors

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their popular website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible.

For more information about financial independence and travel, visit our book store

 

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