As a person who enjoys abundant good health, my experience with Belize doctors comes by way of a friend and one particular doctor in San Ignacio, where we lived some ten years ago. My friend was stricken by sciatica, a condition previously unknown to him, which reached a critical state when he could not escape its menacing pain regardless of his being seated, supine or standing. A car trip to the doctor was unthinkable and would have neared cruelty.
Amazingly, the doctor came to the house. Imagine that! Nope, this was NOT something out-of-the-normal, at least in San Ignacio (pictured above). As well, the Cuban-trained doctor was as professional as any I had encountered in the States.
Belize, not having a medical school, imports its doctors, another normalcy there. This is by no means to discredit the qualifications of these professionals. A bias against a doctor without a degree from an American institution is a hurdle not a few transplanted Americans grapple with. Our experience with San Ignacio’s Cuban doctor quickly disabused us of any second thoughts.
The sciatic condition was diagnosed and the manner of treatment was outlined, noting the contingency of the treatment based on the highly addictive drugs needed. Eventually the scurrilous sciatica succumbed.
Belize treatment facilities are not quite equal to those in United States, so the doctors often are left to diagnose a condition based on actually listening to their patient. Not to be alarmed. This was once the happy ways of a doctor's good bedside manner in the U.S., before expensive diagnostic procedures, not infrequently predicated on avoiding a lawsuit.
To be sure, there are tests available in Belize, and happily not without the blow of high cost that attends so many similar tests in the States.
When it comes to hospitals, there were two in San Ignacio. The little one in town looked more like a MASH unit. The other, a Seven-Day-Adventist hospital in the adjoining town of Santa Elena, just across the Macal River, would have been the one of choice if needed.
In Florida, the Seven-Day-Adventist hospitals come highly rated. Their reputation did not quite carry into their Belize counterpart, which I would guess to be on par with a 1970’s American hospital. Thus, any shortcomings resided not so much in the doctors as in the facility in which they practice.
Similar to the U.S., I think it right to say that one should seek a doctor in Belize’s larger cities, namely Belize City, Belmopan, and San Ignacio.
All in all, finding a good doctor in Belize is not an impossibility. Finding a specialist probably would add a wrinkle to this estimation. Thus, for the more complicated, extreme situations, a trip back to the States would most likely be best. Lastly, for those of a more experimental nature, alternate, natural healing for lesser maladies is certainly available in such an exotic country as Belize.