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Old 07-12-2015, 06:11   #1
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Out cruising-may need surgery

Okay we are currently in Guatemala and my husband MAY need Gallbladder surgery. It can be done inGuatemala, but Considering returning to USA to get it done there . we no longer have a real home there (cruising on and off since 1999) but do have family, inland.

My concern is, if we return to states, how long to get the surgery? We no longer have a primary doctor and are covered under social security/Medicare. I fear that when We get there it will take for ever to get an appointment, (if we can even find a doctor who will accept a new medicare pt) . Then we will have to hang around around a while to take tests, then have to wait for surgery. All a lot of hanging around. Or we could go to ER but I'm sure they wouldn't like that unless he was in the middle of an attack (god help me we have thought of inducing an attack to get the Emergency rooms attention, but that feels dumb and painful!)


Any advice from those familiar with todays US health care system? Ideally I would love to have him Fly in, see a dr, get the surgery, then fly back, but I fear it will be a long drawn out affair, (which im not sure we could handle financially re housing etc.) We could go back on the boat, but as we are in the middle of replacing port lights and the sole, it could be a while.

Thoughts?
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Old 07-12-2015, 07:13   #2
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Re: Out cruising-may need surgery

I'm in Australia so can't comment on the US part of your q but have had the gall bladder out a few years ago. In my case being in a fairly remote area with a long waiting list and my doctor advised that I should just turn up at our version of er if having an attack. I picked my day, had an "attack" (wink, wink) and turned up at er and the next day it was done. The method used is laproscopy which involves a night or two in hospital and a couple of weeks recovery until freedom of painless movement returns. The procedure is both very common and straightforward. You could probably do this recovery time on a docked boat if things like toileting etc could be taken care of.

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Old 07-12-2015, 07:17   #3
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Re: Out cruising-may need surgery

I have a gut feeling that you have correctly determined what will happen if you return to the US. I don't know what to advise you though.

Possibly ask family if they have a Dr., to talk with that Dr and ask their advice, at least that would be from a Medical professional?
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Old 07-12-2015, 07:33   #4
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pirate Re: Out cruising-may need surgery

I would first enquire the cost of a private clinic with good rep locally.. its fairly straight forward and from what I hear about costs in the States it will save you a fortune..
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Old 07-12-2015, 07:40   #5
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Re: Out cruising-may need surgery

If you get caught up in the American Health System(read Obamacare), you will wish you were dead anyway! Th collection of fees, penalties, medical costs will be turned over to the IRS and they will be ruthless in hounding you to your dying day.
Ther are fine surgeons throughout Central America, many of them trained in US medical facilities, and very competent. If I were u, I would search out one of these highly qualified Dr's and see what they can do for you. Many have their own clinics and routinely perform simle surgeries at their own clinics. Good luck but avoid the US! Phil
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Old 07-12-2015, 07:41   #6
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Re: Out cruising-may need surgery

Find out how much it will cost to pay cash for the procedure in Costa Rica. I hear their health care is quite good, and you may find that the cash price is the same as your Medicare deductible in the US.
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Old 07-12-2015, 07:42   #7
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Re: Out cruising-may need surgery

Guatemala has a whole medical travel infrastructure in place. Why go home, go to the city, have the surgery done, pay for it out of pocket and return to the boat......


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Old 07-12-2015, 08:00   #8
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Re: Out cruising-may need surgery

Well my husband votes for having it done in Guatemala, but they need the cash up front which is doable but we need a few months . So if we need a few months , why not mosey up to the states I say? The local dr says he should rest the GB for a month or so, then get it out. But if it goes acute? American health care vs Guatemalan health care? Post surgery I am just concerned re sx complications and the "pay in advance" mindset of guat vs the let's draw it out/hard to access American healthcare mindset.

I guess this is what happens when u are an older cruising couple. But messing around on the boat sure beats living a boxed in land life. We made our choices and are living with the results of our life decisions, good or bad.
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Old 07-12-2015, 08:13   #9
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Re: Out cruising-may need surgery

I'm with hubby on this one... I needed surgery in Mexico about 30 years ago and it cost a fraction of US for Dr and his staff, done in his clinic, recovered on my boat, took it easy for about a month (not hard to do down there) excellent care, Doc even dropped by the boat to check on me. The worst memory of the whole affair was the taxi ride from the clinic back to the boat! Good luck... Phil
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Old 07-12-2015, 08:26   #10
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Re: Out cruising-may need surgery

I don't know about Guatemala but Costa Rica has excellent healthcare at a fraction of US cost. Make some inquiries about them billing Medicare directly, it might be possible since you are traveling.
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Old 07-12-2015, 08:40   #11
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Re: Out cruising-may need surgery

"If you get caught up in the American Health System(read Obamacare), you will wish you were dead anyway! Th collection of fees, penalties, medical costs will be turned over to the IRS and they will be ruthless in hounding you to your dying day."

Was it really necessary to get political?
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Old 07-12-2015, 08:49   #12
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Re: Out cruising-may need surgery

..would suggest explore local or Mexico.. excellent medics, clinics and price is sensible low.. back to estate and deal with medicare could be a nightmare... Good luck!
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Old 07-12-2015, 08:54   #13
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Re: Out cruising-may need surgery

I had my gallbladder out about 20 years ago. The laprascopic technique was just being done and that is how mine was removed. 4 small incisions (less than one inch) and an overnight hospital stay. I would check with the surgeon wherever you get the treatment to make sure they use this technique. The open abdomen technique works perfectly well but the stomach muscles are cut in a 5" incision which takes quite some time to heal.

I don't understand why a Dr would want to "wait and let the GB rest". Once the attacks start they will continue. I just don't get that at all. If your family knows some Drs, I would start there and see if they would be willing to see you.

This is the most common surgery performed other than elective plastic surgery. If you really wanted it to happen (I am not suggesting this seriously), visit family in the states and go out and tie one on. Lots of booze and pizza will quite likely bring on an attack. You won't have to fake the pain when you get to the ER.

Do your due diligence if you are having the surgery outside the US. Costa Rica would be my first choice.
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Old 07-12-2015, 09:12   #14
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Re: Out cruising-may need surgery

Quote:
Originally Posted by chebba View Post
"If you get caught up in the American Health System(read Obamacare), you will wish you were dead anyway! Th collection of fees, penalties, medical costs will be turned over to the IRS and they will be ruthless in hounding you to your dying day."

Was it really necessary to get political?
I'm not sure that this is a political statement. I know a few who have used and they are ruing the day they used it. He makes a valid point about the IRS and penalties. It is sadly a valid consideration.
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Old 07-12-2015, 09:25   #15
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Re: Out cruising-may need surgery

Keep in mind the #1 cause of bankruptcy is because of medical costs in this country. The medical system in the U.S. has devolved to a frightening degree where the medical care is disappearing replaced with profit as primary concern. There are "pockets of excellence" though most don't have access. Such pockets are promoted as the standard, which is a smokescreen for the rot that's at the core. I'd go to Costa Rica.
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