Originally Posted by Dhillen
For those contemplating a shipboard medical kit, you can read about what we have determined should go in ours on my blog, which I have just updated (see signature).
Dhillen, thanks so much for starting this thread, and for all who contributed! Now that we have finally put together a medical kit, I thought I would share our experiences.
We have been cruising for 18 months, but no big oceans so far, so we just had a very basic first aid kit - which was wholly inadequate, of course. I broke my arm on the way to Santa Marta, Colombia
, and we "discovered" that we didn't even have an ACE bandage, ferpetesake. (We DID have vicodin, though, so
Anyway, now we're in Panama
and peering out towards the Marquesas
, just over the horizon.... so we decided we needed to get a little more serious. I started with your list, Dhillen, and we consulted with a doctor here in Panama
City - our Spanish is crappy, but we've learned that whatever the name of the drug, if you just change the "ph" to an "f" and tack an "a" on the end - that's how to say it in español. No, seriously, we found a doctor that speaks better English
than I do, he explained all the stuff on the list, offered some substitutions because of availability in Panama... gave us a lot of good advice, wrote any scripts necessary, and charged us $80.
A few thoughts that might be helpful - your milage will vary.
Drugs - both prescription and OTC - are generally cheaper here than in the States - but the doctor strongly recommended that we should NOT buy generic here due to a weak regulatory system - so we ended up buying
brand-name Lipitor for my hubby's high cholesterol, even though in the Bahamas
we bought generic from Canada
for much cheaper.
No epi-pens here, but we were sold a vial of epinefrina for a buck fifty. Seriously - one dollar and fifty cents. So for anyone on a serious budget
, you can forego the fancy first-world contraption and go old school
- I'll bet this is easy to get in a lot of Latin American countries.
Although we did have scripts for some of the stuff, almost all pharmacies here will sell you at least some prescription-only meds if you show your boat documentation
and the passport of the documented captain
. Especially antibiotics, but they were very careful about the valium, for example, and Vicodin is apparently super hard to get here. (no big deal for us, since as I already admitted, we have a small Vicodin stash.
Did you know that Valium is a really good option for back spasms? We talked with the doctor about muscle relaxants - I think they don't have good options available here - but he said Valium would get us all fixed.
We have this doctor's cell phone
number. I mean, this doctor actually answers the phone
. And hey we have a sat phone! Wouldn't it be nice if you had a medical emergency
on board and could immediately call - direct - an actual medical professional? Something to think about, for those who are preparing.
Those are the highlights. Thanks again for getting us started in the right direction.