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Ron Hunter of Finca Cazador – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Hospital Chiriquí, David, Panama, – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe doctors in Panama are good. I’ve had quite a bit of experience of having things done throughout the world. It depends on the doctor and your connection with the doctor. For example, twenty years ago, before Panama moved into the medical tourism forte, I was dating a young lady who had a 7-year-old daughter with eye problems. We took her daughter to an ophthalmologist, and to make the long story short, the little girl was diagnosed with optic nerve glioma, which is cancer in the optic nerve.
 
We took her 7-year-old daughter to a specialist who said, “We’re going to have to remove the eye to take care of the cancer in the optic nerve. We will then fit her with a prosthesis.” Her eye was removed, the cancer was cut out, and she was treated with radiation. The prosthesis was then installed.
 
The prosthetic eye that she was fitted with was attached to the oblique muscles that move the eye diagonally. This was cutting edge technology 20 years ago. This prosthesis was connected to the rectus muscle so it articulated. It wasn’t as good as a real eye but it moved, and that was cutting edge technology at that time. 
 
That entire process cost $5,500. I looked into it just out of curiosity later, and discovered that the cost for the prosthesis alone in the United States was in the direction of $25,000. 
 
Another example is when about 6 years ago in California where I grew up, I was diagnosed with skin cancer. I was a quasi- surfer in the 60’s, so I spent my whole life in the sun. I didn’t like going to the doctor so I was putting it off until one day, I finally went to visit one in David, an hour and a half from where I live. 
 
I went in to this clinic in David just to check out the doctor. In Latin America, you realize that a lot of things just shut down during lunch time, which is normally from 12PM – 2PM. I was hoping just to get in there and make an appointment, but the receptionist said, “Well, the doctor’s not busy. Why don’t you go in and talk to him?” I said, “Really? All I wanted was an appointment,” and she said, “No, no, no. Go in and talk to him.” 
 
I went into the doctor’s office and found him to be a very nice gentleman whose English was much better than my Spanish. I explained to him that I was just there to get an appointment for a future consult and he said, “No, no, no. I have time. Why don’t you take off your shirt and let me see?” I said, “I’m not really ready to do this,“ but he insisted. This doctor had really good bedside manners. 
 
I looked up on the wall and found out that this doctor graduated from a medical school here in Panama, then did postgraduate work in Costa Rica, and he also had paper hanging on the wall that said UC Berkeley. That’s how you know his services are world-class.
 
I told him I would like to come back in a couple of weeks when I get my courage up. In the meantime, he comes over and prescribes Novocain. He also took a scalpel and took a sample from my skin that very clearly showed skin cancer. 
 
He placed this sample in a specimen tray to send out for a biopsy, applied some liquid nitrogen. and cut off six or seven other things that were there, including a couple of polyps. He stitched me up and said, “Why don’t you come back in two weeks? I’ll take the stitches out and have the results from the biopsy.” 
 
I told the doctor that I would be back, and I did after two weeks. He took the stitches out, which left a practically non-visible scar. This doctor did an excellent job. He says, “Good news. The biopsy came back clear. I got all of it out.” He looked at the incision and told me there was a lot more work he needed to do on me. 
 
I had a 2 ½-hour contact with an expert, a biopsy, five or six pieces of cancer cut off with some coming from my face, and the total cost was $245 - $450. Whatever it was, I felt like I should kiss him. 
 
Here’s another example. I’m an old guy, but I’m still pretty spry. I was jumping up on the back of my tailgate on my little Nissan thinking that it was closed and locked, and I was going to spring over. It turns out that it wasn’t locked, so it acted as a catapult and it threw me onto the ground. As I was getting ready to do a face plant I was thinking, “Oh my!” 
 
I tried to roll out of it and I did, hitting my elbow onto a large rock where it exploded just like dropping a watermelon. It made an ugly sound. I dislocated my shoulder, destroyed my elbow and broke my radius and ulna (forearm) in two places. My wife drove me down to Volcán Barú, which is only 35 - 45 minutes away from where we were, to see if they could do anything in their emergency facility, because Volcán Barú only has a small hospital. 
 
When we got to Volcán, they told us that I needed to be taken to David (the closest larger city, about an hour and a half away by car), but they did give me a couple of Demerol shots that took the edge off. When I got to the public hospital where it cost $0.25 to be admitted and $10 for the X-ray, everything was done quickly. The radiologist told me I needed an operation, so he sent me up to the floor where the orthopedist surgeon was.
 
When I got there, two young doctors in their early 30’s looked at my X-ray films and said, “Oh my. You’ve done a good job here. You need an operation.” They tell me, “You’re not going to be operated on tonight. This is a public facility, and you have to wait for two to three weeks and stay in here before you have the operation.” 
 
Because I went to the public sector, I asked the doctors, who turned out to be interns, if they had a good referral in the private sector, and they recommended their professor whom they referred to as “Cracker Jack.” 
 
The interns called their professor who was just coming out of surgery at 9:30 PM, and asked him if I could come over. David has two very good private hospitals: Hospital Chiriquí and Hospital Mae Lewis. 
 
During that night, their professor was performing an operation in Hospital Chiriquí, so my wife drove me over to Chiriquí where I met him. For someone in his late 30’s he was a great surgeon. He looked at the X-ray and confirmed that I indeed needed an operation. 
 
Because he had good English, I asked the doctor in a nice way, “Were you a little rich boy whose  mom put through school?” He said, “I certainly was not. I went to a public school,“ and I said, “Great. We can talk.” I just wanted to get a feel for who he was because he was going to work on me that night.
 
That night, this surgeon rolled me into the operating room where he reset my shoulder, put in a state of the art prosthesis, pinned my broken radius and ulna (forearm) with some pins, and patched me up. I was in the operating room for 2-3 hours and spent the night in the hospital. I left the next morning, then went to physical therapy. At a certain point the pins came out. 
 
It cost a total of $1,200 for the surgery and the hospital room. All the bills and other miscellaneous fees cost a total of $3,000. In total, it was $4,200. Coincidentally, a friend of mine who was riding his dirt bike outside of Arizona had an accident where he damaged his elbow. He did not dislocate his shoulder or break his forearm, and the operation cost him $45,000. 
 
If you go to a public hospital here in Panama, medical bills are even less expensive, but the wait time is extremely long. It’s socialized medicine if you’re going public, but if you’re going private, it’s “right now.” I got in that night with the best surgeon in town, and I was out the next day. My experience personally has been very, very good. In fact, I once told my daughter who’s now 45, “The nice thing about Panama is that you can afford to be sick here, unlike in the United States.”
 
In Panama, it’s extremely difficult to get into the public education system to become a doctor. Only 1 or 2 out of 100 will get through their first year of medical school because it’s very rigorous.  
 
(Hospital Chiriquí, David, Panama, pictured.)
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David Btesh of Pacific Developers – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
John Hopkins Hospital Punta Pacifica, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe doctors in Panama are excellent. We’re online with Johns Hopkins, and the doctors come to visit us from a lot of countries, including India and Israel. They give speeches, train the doctors and upgrade them, and lots of these doctors are studying outside. We have a tremendous university here for architects, lawyers and doctors that is well known in Panama.  
 
They just had an operation here for heart transplants wherein they did a a procedure where only 7 have been done in the world, including separating Siamese babies. They do everything here in Panama. 
 
The doctors are always full, the hospitals are full, and everybody goes to the local doctor. If you had a choice, and you had a major problem that needed an operation, then I recommend that the person should pick the doctor that does that operation daily. You’re not going to pick a doctor that does one operation every 6 months when you have to remove something inside. Personally, I get all my healthcare done here in Panama and 99% of my family stays in Panama.
 
(John Hopkins Hospital Punta Pacifica, Panama, pictured.)
Jesahely De Janon of Panama Property Attorneys – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Santo Tomas hospital, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThere are very good medical schools in Panama and the government of Panama has made providing quality medicine a high priority. The president recently provided a scholarship to 100 students because studying medicine is a very expensive.
 
The public service hospitals are not enough for the population of Panama so the president is alleviating the problem by providing the opportunity go to medical school for more students in order to have more doctors in Panama. A few years ago, we were also receiving assistance from Cuba and other countries, which provided help for the public pension and public healthcare system in Panama. This is the social security healthcare system in Panama.
 
For the public healthcare system, there are good doctors. There are specialists in Panama City that work in public hospitals, specifically Santo Tomas. It has a good reputation. I know that they have very good specialists there. There are people who can go to a social security hospital but they go for the public health care system instead. An expat living legally in Panama can use the public healthcare system, which is very low cost.
 
As for the private healthcare system, by Panamanian standards, it is very expensive, especially if you go to a specialist. The private healthcare hospitals are more comfortable, which is why it’s expensive. The specialists in the private system also see patients in the public hospital. The same specialists working at Santo Tomas have their own clinics in the private hospital. They are the same exact physicians and are just practicing their medicine in a different facility.
 
I do not get sick frequently but I go to the private hospitals because that is what my insurance covers.
 
A check up with a cardiologist in Panama can cost $80 USD. For obstetrician, it costs around $40 to $50 USD. This is the cost without insurance. If you have insurance, you pay less. For example, I only paid $15 USD for the specialist. My insurance costs $70 USD per month.  
 
(Santo Tomas hospital, Panama, pictured.)
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Jonathan Stolarz of COSTA LINDA RESIDENCE CLUB – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Punta Pacifica logo, San Francisco, Panama City, Panama  – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe doctors in Panama are good.   Just in front of my office in Panama City is the Punta Pacifica Hospital, which is a Johns Hopkins affiliated hospital.  Everything in this hospital is like the United States.  All the doctors studied in the US, all the instruments come from the US, the knowledge, and the know-how all come from the US.
 
There are three hospitals in Panama City that are up to US standards and with US quality doctors--- Punta Pacifica, Paitilla, and San Fernando. I just go to Punta Pacifica, but I heard the others are very good as well.
 
In addition to the doctors being good, the doctors in Panama are also much less expensive than you would expect in the United States.  Without insurance, a visit to the doctor still isn’t much and just costs between US $40 and $50.  
 
In Panama, the insurance coverage is much like the United States, where sometimes there's co-pay and sometimes there's a deductible.   In the insurance coverage with our company, I have a deductible, which is an excellent insurance for emergencies.  You may also get co-pay insurance, which is very good for daily visits to the doctor.
 
(Punta Pacifica logo, San Francisco, Panama City, Panama, pictured.) 
 
 
Celia Cárdenas of Beach Suites by Villa Camilla – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
We have very good doctors in Panama and we now have advanced medical equipment. The health clinics and hospitals are very easy to access and we have the National Health System. You can also get medications / prescriptions here in Panama.
 
The doctors in Panama are updated with the latest developments in medical care, so people here do not really need to go somewhere else for medical attention, unless it is a very rare case. This applies to all of Panama. The quality of the doctors in all of Panama do not change, but the access to medical equipment and facilities differ in certain areas. As an example, here in Pedasi, we do not have modern equipment, so you have to go somewhere else for it, but that doesn’t mean that the doctors in Pedasi are not good; they just do not have the equipment.
 
There is also a big difference between the Social Security Hospital and the private hospitals here. The Social Security Hospitals are a lot slower and a lot more bureaucratic than the private hospitals, but the quality of care is just the same because you have the same doctors in both the Social Security Hospital and the private hospitals.
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Jose Broce of Broce-Pinilla & Asociados – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Doctors in Panama are really good. The reason is that most of our doctors initially studied here in Panama and then had specialized training in the United States, Europe or Asia. So aside from the fact that medical procedures are cheaper here in Panama, our doctors are equally good in quality to the doctors in the places our Panamanian doctors studied, not to mention that our Panamanian doctors provide lots of attention to their patients, as our doctors take this aspect of personal care very seriously.
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Terry Bradford of Origen Real Estate Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Surgery on a patient in Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingI love the doctors here in Panama. They are so efficient and so good. My husband and I have been, for four years, amazed by how the doctors in Panama treat patients.

 
A few years ago, I went to a dermatologist in the United States because I had a melanoma on my leg. They cut it out, which left a little hole on my leg. Then a few years later, I found another one below my eye and I got so worried that I will have a big indentation on my face. Our dermatologist here in Panama did not remove it the way the US doctor did. My dermatologist here in Panama is also a plastic surgeon. He cut the melanoma below my eye and when the Band-Aid came off after a few days, I cannot even find a mark on my face!

Our dear friend moved here in Panama permanently almost 2 years ago and she had suffered with migraines and fibromyalgia for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for 25 years. She was referred to a naturalist who is also an internist here in Panama. This doctor was a regular MD internist who does not believe in all the medications they give out in the United States. Right now, our friend is off any medications and does not have any more migraines. For 25 years, she has suffered with these illnesses and the doctors in the US could only give her more prescriptions, which are extremely expensive. When she came here, they took her off all the prescriptions. She only takes some natural prescriptions now and has no more migraines. We have gone places and done things together. She is a vibrant, wonderful person.
 
Here in Panama, the doctors are with you for one full hour. Commonly, they spend 15 to 30 minutes on the checkup and the next 30 minutes are spent connecting with the patients. You and your doctor will be sitting back, talking about restaurants, family, and how you are doing. They do not rush the patients through like a bunch of cattle.

In addition, every doctor here in Panama saves his or her patients' phone numbers on his cell phone. So, if you were sick at one time, they will call you in a day or two and ask how you are feeling. Since they also give out their phone numbers to their patients, you could call a doctor at any time and ask him a question. You do not have to wait several days for a return phone call from a doctor like you do in the US; here in Panama they will actually call you to check how you are feeling.
 
These doctors rotate their clinic times in different areas of Panama, too. They have clinics in Clinica Hospital San Fernando. They also go to the upscale areas of Coronado (1 hour away from Panama City by car), and Arraijan, Panama (less than 30 minutes away from the heart of Panama City by car). They do so in order to help other expat communities. Therefore, expats know that the same doctor will attend to them every Thursday (for example), once that doctor does his clinic hours in that area. 

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Sarah Booth of Panama Holiday Homes &  Buyer's Consultant with My Panama Real Estate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
I find that, in general, in Latin America, you receive the most wonderful beside manner, and Panama is no exception.  The doctors in Panama are amazing.  They are just such loving, caring people.  You know when you go to the doctor because something hurts and you just want to be taken care of?  That’s the type of care you get here.
 
The prices are great and the doctors are great.  I’ve never been steered wrong.  My x-rays cost me maybe US $30.
 
I would say that the doctors here in Panama are better than the doctors in Canada because here in Panama, you don’t feel rushed.  I’ve been on the Canadian medical system for most of my life and still felt that, even though I liked my doctor in Canada, I was being rushed out the door because there’s a shortage of doctors in Canada, and they have appointments backed up.  Even worse, I know from others that it’s even difficult to get a new doctor in Canada.  The fact that I had a doctor in Canada for several years didn’t matter; he still rushed me out the door because he had so many other patients to see.  You’re more on a time clock in Canada, whereas, here in Panama, they’ll take the time with you and talk with you and they don’t let you leave until you feel good about leaving.
 
In addition to having great bedside manner, relative to quality and competence, the doctors in Panama are most definitely equal to the doctors in Canada.
Linda Jensen – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Absolutely, the doctors here in Panama are good. I keep telling my kids how my husband and I feel much better in Panama. Probably the reason for that is because of the good doctors who are working here and our much healthier lifestyle and eating habits.
 
Just recently, my husband went to a cardiologist and he said to me that he liked the doctor much better than the one in the States. Although he doesn’t speak great English, the doctor understood my husband and has a great personality.
Sieg Pedde of Roca Milagro Residential Development – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
From everything that I’ve heard, the doctors in Panama are very good.  Many of them were trained in the United States. The doctors in Panama can be reached just about any time of the day or night and they will surely come to you. They are friendly and it just seems like the doctor-patient relationship in Panama is much more personal and friendlier than you are likely to have with the doctors somewhere in the US or Canada.
 
You often get doctors in Canada who don’t even care how long you have to wait before they examine you. In Panama, it’s very, very different.
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David Whittington of Tucan Golf Club and Resort – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
I have friends here in Panama who were diagnosed by the doctors in Panama.  My friends didn’t trust the diagnosis and went back to the US to be examined there, only to be told the same thing by the doctors in the US.
 
The differences in healthcare between North America and Panama are that, in some circumstances, for treatment, the doctors in the US have more up to date equipment to work with than they do in Panama.  However, in the cases I know about, the diagnoses from the doctors in Panama were spot on.
 
I personally feel comfortable with the doctors here in Panama.  They’ve given me thorough examinations. 
 
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Roger J. Pentecost of Boquete Valley of Flowers Condos – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The doctors in Panama are generally good, just like they are in Canada.  You just need to cherry pick the best ones.
 
We recently came to see Dr. Fabrega for a surgery in Hospital Paitilla, in Panama City, Panama.  Dr. Fabrega is world recognized in his specialty and spent 16 years as the head of his department at Sloan Kettering in the US.  Panama has many, many physicians who are world-renowned in their specialties.
 
The doctors in Panama usually (in some cases because they have to, but in many other cases, because they want to) spend anywhere from a third to a quarter of their day giving their services for almost nothing to the public hospitals.  And this included two or three of the top surgeons we were dealing with in Panama City, Panama; top, American-trained doctors, like Dr. Fabrega, who is recognized all over the world as an expert.
 
If you want the services of Dr. Fabrega now, you have to come to Panama.  Panama is now well known and respected for all kinds of medical tourism.
Albert Obbens – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Yes, the doctors in Panama are good. As a certified ophthalmologist (and a pensionado myself),  I have seen and spoken to several eye- doctors in Panama City and saw their equipment. Some clinics had the most advanced lasers that are only seen very rarely in the USA and not at all (yet) in Europe. Top education as well. Now, if you have no insurance you might have to wait a long time in a general hospital. Also the hospitals (the building) might not be as sophisticated as you are used to. But if you care just for the appearance of the building and have to pay up to 5 times as much for a treatment in the US compared to Panama, you forgive them for that fast.
 
Due to the humidity compared with the temperature, you will find a large amount of children in the specialized "Hospital del Niño", the largest children's hospital in Panama City, being treated daily with inhalers against asthma. Everything is organized, the costs are $ 1.00 for a treatment, the staff is friendly, but it is an old building. The government pays for everything and everybody can come in, whether they can pay the $1.00 or not. The money they receive is used for quality care, not for paint on the walls.
MANUEL GRANADOS  of MEDICAL SERVICE PANAMA, S.A. (MS PANAMA, S.A.) – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Many of the doctors in Panama are bilingual, board certified and accustomed to working with the same medical equipment and technology used in the United States and Europe. Most of of them have been trained in the U.S. where they went on to practice for several years. They return to Panama to work in first-rate facilities boasting state of the art medical equipment, such as in San Fernando Hospital.
 
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Lourdes Townshend of Multimodal  & Logistic Transports Magazine – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The doctors in Panama are not only good.......visitors and foreign residents are amazed of what they find in Panama... only the best!.  This is an enviable position for an emerging country, that is at the point that its medical services are considered a prime option in the American continent.
 
People around the world come to Panamá to get medical services or surgeries, and compliments are in the hundreds.  Not only because of the low prices and high quality, but because service is combined with that "touch" of Latin American special warmth.
Lucia Haines of Panama Realtor Inc. – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Just as is the case in every country, for Panama there are good doctors and bad doctors.
 
Speaking from my own personal experiences, I have had exceptional luck with doctors and healthcare providers in Panama.  I would like to stress that I do have private insurance and generally stick to private hospitals and clinics, but more importantly I find doctors based on referrals from friends and family.
 
While Panama is growing by leaps and bounds, it is still a small country with a total of just 3.4 million people as per our last census in 2010.  Word of mouth is still one of the best ways to find doctors or any service providers for that matter in Panama.
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James David Audlin of Editores Volcán Barú – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Are the doctors in Panamá good? I can only speak for my region, around Volcán and Cerro Punta, and the provincial capital of Davíd. I would rate the medical care here as far better than in the United States, which has in recent years suffered a sharp downturn in quality combined with a steep rise in consumer costs. Medical attention in this region I find to be far more affordable, and of a considerably higher quality. I have not encountered any outright bad doctors, but there are a couple who I think offer less quality of service than the others. Most are superb. Many speak English. Many were trained in the United States or Europe.
 
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Rafael Alvarado of Rafael Alvarado / Attorney / Real Estate Broker – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Are the doctors in Panama good?  Well, I use them and I´m still alive! Kidding!!!!!
 
Hospital Punta Pacifica in Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingWe do have top of the line doctors and specialists in every single area of medicine, so if you´re planning to visit Panama, don´t be worried about "sneeze".  You´ll be recovered in no time!
 
To the right is a picture of Hospital Punta Pacifica (an affiliate of Johns Hopkins in the US) here in Panama.
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Col Davis Stevenson RET of Condor Tours & Travel, Inc – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Panama has many well qualified and well trained Doctors. John Hopkins has opened a hospital in Panama for the express purpose of catering to the the Medical Tourism Industry. Many of the Doctors are not only graduates of Panamanian Medical Teaching institutions they also received training in the USA as well as in European Medical facilities.
Panama has several excellent hospitals which are fully staffed, one interesting thing I found in the Panama Hospitals is that the nursing staff still wear traditional dresses as well as the cap of a practicing nurse.

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