11 September 2005
Do you know the way in San José?
Saturday, Jacqueline Passey, quite unintentionally, got her first taste of Costa Rican health care. What did she think? A report from the emergency room:
I saw a nurse (who spoke some English) who took my blood pressure and pulse and then I waited another 15 minutes or so for the doctor. He spoke fluent English, I described my symptoms, and he ordered a urine culture.
At this point I had to pay for the doctor's visit (18,500 colones or about $38) and pre-pay for the lab test (5000 colones or about $10). They told me to come back in one hour, so I went to a bookstore downtown and came back a little less than an hour later. My test was already ready and I was directed to wait to speak to the doctor. About 15 minutes later I saw the doctor, he confirmed that I did indeed have a bladder infection as I'd suspected, and he wrote down what type of antibiotic to take (200mg Floxstat twice a day for three days). It took about 15 minutes and 6,450 colones (about $13) to fill my prescription at the pharmacy attached to the hospital.
Altogether it took me about 2½ hours to get treated for a total cost of about $62. Much less expensive and even quicker than going to an emergency room or most walk in clinics in the US. This was at a private hospital, there are also public hospitals (Costa Rica has socialized medicine, but also allows a private market) where it might have cost less but probably would have taken longer.
But the true joy of the day came afterwards:
I asked Terrence for some Tylenol, and when I tried to line up the child proof tabs the lid popped off in my hand. Because there were no child proof tabs. It didn't have a child proof lid. THE GOVERNMENT OF COSTA RICA TRUSTS ME TO KEEP MY CHILDREN FROM POISONING THEMSELVES. I gleefully popped the lid on and off over and over in front of Terrence, which he found rather perplexing until I explained.
I trust the reader to draw his own conclusions.Posted at 10:10 AM to Almost Yogurt