Health Care Experiences Far From Home

Preparing for stitches in Guatemala
(photo courtesy of Matt & Jessica's Sailing Page)

If you're out cruising, it's pretty advisable that you have a good First Aid kit at your disposal.  We aren't always lucky enough to be near a health care center if something goes wrong, or even if we are, standards may not be what we were used to back on land.  When things go wrong, it's not as easy as a quick drive down the road to the med center.

Whether it's a virus traveling around, a finger caught or smashed in one of the many areas possible to do so on a boat, or a lift threatening emergency, health care can get a little bit tougher out on the water.  If you have any experience or stories about health care far away from home, send me a post describing it.

Topic Coordinator:  Jessica (MJ Sailing)

While waiting out hurricane season at a marina in Guatemala, Jessica (Matt & Jessica's Sailing Page) had to rush Matt to the little clinica in town for stitches after a drill bit broke and dove into his finger.

When a case of a bad stomach sent Jan (Commuter Cruiser) to the emergency room in San Andreas Colombia, she was worried about what the care and the bill would be like, but received great care at barely any cost instead.  After that experience, she lists some tips for medical conerns while cruising.
Jane (More Joy Everywhere) had an unfortunate incident of breaking an arm while on passage to Colombia.  Here she tells what it's like trying to race through customs and get to an emergency room, complete with a huge language barrier in place.  Jane also talks about the excellent dental care she received in Cartagena Colombia while getting new crowns.

Not all medical experiences in foreign countries are good ones, and unfortunately for Karen (Karen and Jim's Excellent Adventure) she found this out while experiencing heart palpitations in the remote South Pacific islands of Tonga, and her requests for medical attention from hospital staff went mostly ignored.

When a kite boarding accident sent Tasha (Turf to Surf) to a private medical clinic in the Dominican Republic, the number one worry on her mind, even before finding out her condition, was 'What is this going to cost?!'.  Her and her husband Ryan were relieved to find out 'Much less than in the U.S.!'.

Genevieve and Eben (It's a Necessity) have been keeping themselves very busy with the medical system in the Dominican Republic with immunizations, dental visits, and even their toddler experiencing a  fractured shoulder.

(quick baby-roll here)

When surprised with an unexpected pregnancy just after arriving to Guatemala, Laurie and Damon (So Many Beaches) found the medical staff in both the Rio Dulce and Guatemala City very kind, professional, and compassionate, throughout the beginning of their pregnancy as well as a few months in when there were complications due to a previously placed IUD.

The crew of Bettie (Bettie del Mar), Attila and Vlad, have nothing but great things to say about their Mexican healthcare, as well as it's staggeringly low cost compared to the US, as they go through the necessary visits to get ready to welcome a little one to their boat this year.

Giving birth in Mexico seems to be a trend on the rise, and Charlotte (Rebel Heart) lists the differences (good and bad) she encountered having her pregnancy and labor here versus the one she had in the United States a few years prior.

After wanting to have a natural birth in the apartment Alicia and Brian (Adventures of Sarabande) rented in St. Thomas, complications with the afterbirth sent her and new baby James to the hospital where he was forced to stay for days after picking up a staph infection there.

Also, a big thanks to Laurie (So Many Beaches) for sharing this link to a downloadable copy of 'Where There Is No Doctor'.  Usually given to members of the Peace Corps, but could also be very helpful for cruisers.

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