Thursday, August 12, 2010

Medical Care in Cuenca

After ten days in the States I returned to Cuenca to find my hubby hospitalized! As far as we know it was food poisoning. Ironically, another American friend of ours was admitted on the same day at the same time and on the same floor as Mark.

Although this was an unfortunate incident, it has proven to be a learning curve for us. First of all, we had planned to search for medical insurance companies in Ecuador, including Salud and Humana, to protect us in case of a long or complicated hospital stay. But we first had to obtain our cedula (which we received in July), and then I left for the States. There’s nothing like an emergency to help you speed things along.

Mark was hospitalized at Mt. Sinai Hospital where our doctor, Pablo Parra, (an internal medicine specialist) is on staff. We were amazed at the speed at which Mark was admitted and received IV fluids due to dehydration.

All the rooms at Mt. Sinai are private suites with a fold-out sofa for family members who wish to spend the night. I was able to stay with Mark the entire time. The nurses actually prepared my bed, complete with monogrammed sheets and “tucked” me in. During the night Mark was attended to by a competent team of nursing staff and residents. A battery of lab tests were run to determine if Mark’s illness was typhoid or hepatitis A. The results were negative for both (thankfully!), and it was determined that Mark indeed had food poisoning.

By the following morning, Mark’s nausea and vomiting had subsided and he was given the option to leave the hospital or stay one more day. After another thorough examination by Dr. Parra, Mark was released, but not before a complimentary breakfast was served to me along with the morning newspaper (El Mercurio). Mark was given tea and toast, although he enjoyed looking at what I had to eat!

All the visits by staff and physicians were seamless and the test results were given to us as soon as they were available. While we were waiting for news of Mark’s most recent labs, a floral arrangement was delivered to our room compliments of the hospital.

I was almost “sad” to hear that Mark was being discharged because “almuerzo” was arriving! I have to admit that hospital food has never been very high on my food chain, but Mt. Sinai does an extraordinary job in the culinary arts department.

Mark is now home and resting comfortably. I’m still in shock at the speed and efficiency of the medical system at Mt. Sinai. Our total bill came to $250! That was for a private suite, doctor’s visits, labs, medication, IV hydration and meals. Where can you go in the States for such superb care at that price?

No one wants to be admitted to the hospital, but this experience has put our minds at rest regarding the medical care in Cuenca. It only confirmed what we have heard from others—who have had serious illnesses and prolonged stays—that the medical care in Cuenca is exceptional.

We will still investigate our medical insurance options to find a plan that fits our needs, but it’s a relief to know that we are assured state-of-the-art medical care with highly trained physicians who are just a phone call away!

Until next time...hasta luego!
Consuelo y Marco


Nancy Watson said...

So happy to hear that Mark is feeling better and has been released from the hospital.

Connie Pombo said...

Thanks, Nancy! It was so wonderful to finally meet you. Your blog was instrumental in leading us here for which we are so grateful. I'll have to make a point to head to Parque Calderon for the expat gathering on Sundays. Have a great trip to the coast. We look forward to hearing about your adventures. Hugs to you!

Karen Kimbler said...

Glad that its all turning out good for you Mark. Its not fun being sick and not knowing exactly what it is even worse. Hope to catch up to you two soon!

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