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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Taking your kid to the hospital in Panama

So this couldn't have come at a more perfect time. Just yesterday I wrote about some of the great things about living in Panama. One of the things I mentioned was cheap medical care. Well, yesterday evening, while playing around in the backseat of the car (sitting in the horrible 4-8pm traffic along the Cinta Costera) my son, while playing with his brother, accidentally smacked himself in the face with one of his toys.

With blood gushing out of the little cut, we fought our way to the next "Retorno" turn around point and made our way to the Hospital del Niño, the children's hospital, which luckily is located along Avenida Balboa, right around the corner from where we were parked in traffic.

Again, this is one of the awesome things about Panama. Yes, we had to wait for over two hours to be seen by a doctor, but my son received one stitch, and you won't believe how much we paid. How much would that have cost in the U.S.? Please, someone comment below and let me know. I'm not sure. I got stitches once in Chicago, but it was a work accident and covered by insurance so I don't remember what the cost was.

My little knucklehead got stitches, just for this blog photo

So what was the cost here in Panama? We paid $1 to sign in at the emergency room counter, and only $2 for the stitch (which included anesthesia). So the whole thing set us back $3. I'm 100% sure getting a stitch in an emergency room back in the States wouldn't have cost $3. That's insane...in a good way.

The doctor gave us three prescriptions (pain reliever, some sort of cream to put on the stitch, and antibiotic) which wound up costing a total of $32 at the pharmacy.

So, if you find yourself in Panama City, and one of your kids has an accident, go to the Hospital del Niño. Chances are, you'll be able to afford lunch after.

Chris