What would a Halloween Bash be without it ending in the ER with your 12 year-old-boy who took a hard fall to the face, resulting in two of the brackets from his braces getting embedded into the underside of his upper lip?
Ouch is right!
The connection between a mother and child is powerful...I literally feel physical pain (and angst!) when my children are in any type of harm’s way—not to mention a fair amount of panic and worry!
Gathering up my family members and getting out of the school fiesta and my son to the ER was my ONLY goal. Anything else that stood in my way was likely not going to see the kinder, softer side of me. Like my boy says, “Don’t poke the Mama Bear”.
We pulled up to the ER entrance of Hospital San Javier in Puerto Vallarta just before midnight and were greeted by two attendees who opened the door for us and directed us in. We explained to the receptionist what the situation was, handed over both my and my son’s Permanent Resident ID cards and waited only a few minutes before a nurse took my son’s vitals and a look into his mouth. 15 minutes later we were being seen by the doctor.
Our entire family was welcomed back into her consultorio (office) and after doing my motherly job of explaining in the best Spanish I could what had occurred, I excused myself from the room to avoid any trickle down effect of my nerves to my son.
How the doctor was going to attempt to remove his brackets from the inside of his lip was not something that I wanted to witness–neither the visual nor the auditory. I did ask her if we should consult with an oral surgeon but she wanted to first see what she could do. Good enough. All of our previous medical experiences in this beloved adopted country of ours have taught me to take a deep breath and have faith that all will turn out okay.
Out to the hallway I went, pacing back and forth, trying to keep my composure when all I was really feeling was an overwhelm of worry and trying to brace myself for the screams that I was sure would be echoing throughout the hospital walls.
Much to my surprise (and great relief!), just a few minutes later my daughter Mairead came walking down the hallway to tell me “it was all over”…that the Doctor had successfully removed Liam’s braces from his lip and that we were ready to leave! Music to my ears and nerves for sure! There was some anesthetic spray and tissue manipulation in there but I will spare us all the details.
We all have our stateside ER stories and I am not without mine. Not once when we lived in the States, did an ER visit result in anything less than an 8 to 12 hour wait and at least a couple thousand dollar bill (minimum!), with insurance. The wait and the price did not translate to a higher level of care.
You can see in the bill below, how all of the charges from this recent Puerto Vallarta ER visit break down.
The emergency room portion was 534.48 pesos, 16% tax was 85.52 pesos, equalling a total of 620.00 pesos for the ER portion (approximately 32 dollars). The pharmacy bill which included three different medications—one antibiotic, one pain med and one oral spray—came to 320.92 pesos (approximately 16 dollars).
The grand total for an ER visit that included effective, individualized, patient-centered care and three different medications was 940.92 pesos translating to approximately 49 U.S. dollars at today’s exchange rate of 19.19 pesos to the dollar.
One of the top questions I receive from my clients in the relocation consulting work I do is how we pay for medical care. It is easy to see in this example how paying cash for many situations is absolutely feasible.
Did this incident carry with it the potentiality for loss of life or limb and the resulting potential costs? No, thank God. But it was an emergency at 11:30 at night.
Four years into this immigrated lives, we continue to be absolutely grateful for the ease, access and affordability of medical care here.
Do you have any similar experiences where you walked away amazed by the affordability and convenience of medical care in Mexico?
I would love to hear about them in the comments section below.
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