Panama is promoting itself as a mecca for medical tourism. Boquete Panama may be a great place to recuperate but for doctors you need to consider Panama City. The term medical tourism implies elective surgery, low prices and quality services. I do not like the term, I do however think Panama has excellent medical resources.
This last trip to Panama City was tied to finding medical advice for my daughter. Without sounding overly critical of insurance based medical care in the USA, it is (explicative deleted) awful. I pay a large monthly insurance fee to cover myself and my immediate family, including my youngest daughter a university student. The fee covers care anyplace in the world, including the US. The problem is that my daughter waited for months for cursory care, from disinterested doctors with fifteen minutes to spare in the US. I decided that she should come to Panama and be a medical tourist for two months.
On June 1st in five hours we achieved results that were unattainable in the US in a year. She had a visit with an ear, eye, nose and throat specialist. Jacobo Cohen, graduated from the University of Panama, did his residency in Florida had been a chief resident in a Florida hospital.
She was sent in for a cranial CAT scan at Punta Pacifica, a hospital managed by John Hopkins, and had a followup appointment all before noon. Total cost $195, CAT scan and over an hour of professional time. Doctor Cohen took the time to understand her problems. He explained the lab results and dismissed the need for surgery, something suggested up north. He looked at my daughter as a holistic organism, not as an isolated series of biological systems.
Dr Cohen believes that her issues are a combination of things, some related to breathing some related to medicines prescribed by a doctor in Arizona. That doctor who gladly billed me for 15 minutes of telephone time quarterly, has not seen my daughter for two years.
Dr Cohen referred us to another specialist, called him and explained the possible issue with medicines. After lunch we saw him. Another US trained doctor, another hour of time and a plan to modify medications over the next two months,
I will not demean this experience with the term medical tourism, What we experienced was the practice of medicine. In my lifetime medicine in the United States has change from the family doctor, empathy and house calls to corporate pseudo medicine managed by insurance company actuarial tables. In Panama you can still find doctors, well trained and multilingual. In addition to being competent they will take the time to provide medical services as they should be provided, they even provide their cell phone numbers.