Medical Services in Mexico

There is a fashion now for something called medical tourism. In other words you see a service you like provided in another country and you travel there to get the treatment. Treatments frequently provided out of country include dental services, cosmetic surgery, bariatric surgery and orthopedic surgery.
I would not recommend medical tourism in any Latin country including Mexico and I can tell you why.
Mexico and the rest of Latin America has a long way to go in terms of being considered first world in many respects including healthcare.
So what are my concerns? In the UK, Canada and the US there is professional regulation along with standards of care which have regulatory bodies to enforce these measures to protect patients.
In Mexico this is extremely limited so as a patient if your medical care goes belly up you have no way of making good the damage.
What are the risks? In Mexico basic things such as sterilization procedures are very sloppy. This puts you at risk when it comes to blood borne diseases such as hepatitis C and HIV. You are at high risk of blood borne infection when it comes to dental procedures and other surgeries. Many dentists in Canada will not touch you if you have had work done outside of the country because of liability issues, so be careful if you think you can just hop on the plane to Toronto and get your favourite dentist to fix the botched dental job you got somewhere exotic. You may find you have burnt your bridges.
Mexico and many Latin countries have developed out of a culture of opportunism and exploitation. So the attitude is why not if you can get away with it. Once the money is safely in the doctors pocket what can you really do if things go wrong. In UK, Canada and the US you can sue because the doctors have professional insurance and there are funds available to pay for malpractice. In Mexico you might have the satisfaction of sending the doctor to jail but you ars unlikely to receive any financial compensation.
The Canadian government has always up till now been generous in standing behind its Citizens but that may change in these days of fiscal strain. In order to qualify for health care in Canada 180 days of residence are required, otherwise expect a bill and you will be paying out of your own pocket.It won’t be cheap!
Bottom line, if you have health insurance in the US or are a Canadian Citizen I would advise you to retain any healthcare coverage you have in case of one of those rainy days.
Personally my overall experience of health care in PV has not been stellar, lab work can be unreliable, doctors unprofessional and careless or hospitals like Medic Air for example in Mezcales just plain dirty. San Javier is my favourite hospital in Puerto Vallarta. It is clean and bright. I trust the lab there and would recommend Dr Leslie Swindle if you have the misfortune to encounter a cardiac emergency.


About Charlotte Ortega

I am a family physician and writer.I am an active member of the Puerto Vallarta Writers Group and I am coordinating this years International Writers Conference to be held in March in association with Los Mangos Library.Winters are spent in Mexico to escape the cold and the summers in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I am British born but have not lived in the U.K. since 1997. My blog is intended to inform would be travellers and those who view Mexico as a preferred retirement destination on every aspect of living in Mexico, the good and the other...My husband Humberto is Mexican and is a font of knowlege on the diverse cultural and social nuances which exist in this vibrant and colourful country.
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