April 5, 2011
Greetings. I’m a bit tied up with some technical preparations for this afternoon’s Atlas 400 informational teleconference. If you’re interested in the group and want to find out more, you won’t want to miss it– it’s at 3:00pm Eastern time this afternoon, and you have to register in advance here.
In the meantime, I’d like to send on a recent note penned by my friend Dr. John Cobin. John is a long-time resident of Chile and recently had to undergo surgery here. Not to worry, everything is OK… but the experience did give him the chance to write about Chile’s fantastic medical care.
No one likes to think about the need for being hospitalized or for surgery. Yet such things are unpredictable. We simply cannot presume that we will have good health all the time, especially as we grow older. This topic should be of great importance to prospective expatriates.
The country one chooses to live in should have a level of medical care that provides peace of mind.
I was in Nigeria for over a month during the first part of this year, undertaking a sponsored research project. Nigeria is definitely Third World, with incredible poverty, chaos, filth, trash problems, and backwardness.
Of course, there is a relatively small sector of the population that is wealthy. So when I got sick, which I later learned was from food poisoning, I directed the driver to take me to the hospital that is used by the foreigners.
I figured that there would be a better chance at getting decent care in such a place. As it turns out, there were three or four options in Lagos, a city of 9 million. The price was high, US$800 for a one-day stay, which was covered 100% by my private Chilean medical insurance (through reimbursement upon my return).
The Nigerian hospital was mostly clean but the level of incompetence was incredible. Three times the nurse put an IV in my hand and air bubbles were seen going down the line to my arm. Each time I made her fix the problem but she acted as if loads of air bubbles were no big deal.
The IV insert also bruised my hand significantly, causing pain for several weeks after being released. The doctors seemed to know what they were doing but the other problems really made me worry about the care and service I was getting. I certainly would not recommend that anyone go to Nigeria for medical care.
In Chile where I live, it’s a completely different story. No Latin American country’s medical services can compare to Chilean medical care, and Chile’s level of care is even above some places in Europe.
One Chilean doctor told me recently that he had been educated in Chile and did his residency in Richmond, Virginia. He stated that there is basically no difference in medical care between Santiago and major metropolitan areas in the USA.