Regardless of where we live, we all eventually need to see the doctor. In my case, it was simply time for a regular check-up having put mine off for close to two years. Friends provided me with numerous referrals to physicians in Managua, but I still felt an unexpected level of anxiety about this appointment. Though I’ve lived here, in Nicaragua, for close to 9 months, I simply did not know what to expect. Perhaps I was worried that I didn’t know enough Spanish to understand medical terms or that my doctor wouldn’t understand my questions and concerns in English. More likely, I still hold on to some assumptions and stereotypes about medical care in a third world country, though I hate to admit it. Regardless of the reason, I approached this appointment with some trepidation.
I cannot begin to express how pleased I was with both my physician’s care, as well as the facilities at Vivian Pellas Hospital in Managua. To begin, the nurse, Cristina, was helpful and warm. When my appointment had to be moved due to a surgery, she found a way to fit us in on the same day, as we were already en route from San Juan. My doctor, Dr. Mendieta, was informative, thorough, and had a sense of humor. His office had more advanced technology than anything I’ve experienced back in the States. He also made himself very accessible – he called the same day with test results and provided me with not only his office number, but his cell and home numbers, as well. The pharmacy and lab, within the hospital, were easy to locate and incredibly efficient (I waited no more than 5 minutes).
Without question, I was pleased, relieved, and incredibly happy with the services; however, I think it is still important to remember that not everyone has access to this level of medical care. While the hospital is physically available to all, many people do not have the means to travel to Managua. Though not expensive by US standards, costs are often prohibitive for locals. As an alternative, plenty of people rely on local health centers, which need support, as they are often understaffed and maxed out on resources. Hopefully, I will have more on this as we find ways to help…
I had to spend a week in Nicaragua in the hospital two years ago, including two times in the operating room with General Anesthesia. I have to say it was not bad. I called my friend, an ER doc in the US, every day to ask whether he thought the analysis of the doctors and the antibiotics, etc, were correct, and he approved every decision they made. There was no charge for any of the medical care I received there. While I do sometimes have some gripes about Nicaragua, the medical care I received was first-rate.