Not all medical adventures are life or death options. But of course, those are the ones that you hear about and they get your attention.
On March 20 – 2012 Ardon Schambers wrote a great blog about Costa Rica Dental services. For most future expats, the medical side of their future life in Costa Rica is very important. Immigration, as well as the location of their new home, depends a lot on the availability of medical amenities.
When the medical event occurs outside your home area or perhaps outside your home country, it makes you stop and think about how much we take for granted. If it is a real medical emergency such as an auto accident or a heart attack, the local system of medical services will usually kick in, and hopefully resolve the situation effectively.
When you don’t have a known Doctor to call and your medical degree is a bit lacking, what alternative do you have? We frequently hear about how “illegals” or those without insurance are driving up the cost of medical care because their resource is always the emergency room of the local hospital. Perhaps this matter will be resolved as the Supreme Court works through the arguments regarding the Patient Protection & Affordability Care Act (PPACA). However, if you have medical insurance but you don’t want to go to the emergency services or you are in a location where the hospital emergency room is not close, what do you do?
Don’t forget this option
If you have been following this blog, you know I live in Costa Rica. So I, like many North Americans these days, am getting exposed to a new set of rules when they leave the country. However, I’m also learning that maybe I can apply some of these lessons back home.
There is a link in the medical chain that I think many of us, often overlook. It is the pharmacy, a very important medical amenity in Costa Rica. For many of us, a pharmacy is a place we go to pick up the pills or salves that our doctor or their nurse call in. We don’t give full consideration to their training and never think of them as someone who can share their knowledge. In the US the rules for prescribing drugs are pretty strong and often prevent simpler and less costly solutions. However, on three different occasions, the local pharmacist came to the rescue.
One case involved curing a rather strong infection of stepping on an unforeseen insect. After working through a vague description of the insect, a salve that immediately went to work as prescribed by the Costa Rica pharmacist. In the second instance, a guest became quite sick with a throat infection. The pharmacist again had the solution.
Over the counter
Over-the-counter solutions are more available here and seem to be more effective since they are frequently those that require a doctor’s prescription in the US. The last situation involved a guest that was a diabetic who used an insulin pump. The pump quit working during the visit. A replacement was shipped the same day, but overnight has a different meaning here. The backup solution was again the local pharmacy. The technical discussion was more demanding, but the language was not a problem. The pharmacist had the proper sized needles and appropriate medicine.
Think About It
Not sure if this is how we picture medicine to be in a “third world” country. We should know the practice of medicine comes in many forms. The important thing is the outcome, not the system.
So my adventure has taught me that one part of the system, the pharmacist, should not be overlooked.
You may not always know where to find the emergency room or an MD, but I’ll bet just about any place you are you can find a pharmacist.
Written by our guest writer Ardon Schambers, Managing Partner of Ricovida Rio Grande and President and Principal of P3HR, a Human Resources consulting firm, who has recently moved to Jaco Beach on the Central Pacific coast with his wife Barbara from Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Feel free to leave your comments on this blog. If you like this article, please feel free to share it on your social media.
Also, if you like this blog, connect with me on Google+ or subscribe to our newsletter by clicking the banner below.
While we’re at it, I DO want to remind our readers that we appreciate any referrals you can send us. Finally, please remember the American-European real estate Group’s agents when you refer a real estate agent. Because we DO appreciate your business.