David and I had our first doctor visit, a dermatologist. We visited Hospital Chiriquí last week to find the office and made the appointment then. That was when I was pleasantly surprised and today just continued the good feeling.
First, I have been going to US dermatologists for 25+ years. Raised in Florida + loving the tan = skin cancer. This is a brief description of my dealings with US dermatologists. Call for an appointment and wait at least 3 months to get one. Arrive on time and fill out page after page of redundant information. Wait so long that I talk to other people in the waiting room and find that many have the exact same appointment time as me. Finally get called into a room to wait again. Doctor comes in for no more than 2 minutes and ASK ME where the problems are. Aren’t they the ones who went to medical school? Zap, zap, and maybe a biopsy and the doctor is gone for another 3-4 months. I’m willing to bet they don’t even know my name.
Today was completely different. David and I had appointments scheduled 20 minutes apart. No one was scheduled at the same time or between our appointments. Twenty whole minutes of undivided attention. Dra. Rodriguez came to get us and took our basic information. Without asking, she examined my entire body – including my scalp which is never done – and found several spots needing attention.
Dra. Rodriguez did not have a nurse in the office. She needed to fill the liquid nitrogen canister and did it herself in the office. She attacked several spots and then took a biopsy. She explained the care of my treatment, wrote a prescription and asked if I had any questions. They she explained about when I would hear about my biopsy results. David was also seen, treated and given a prescription. We entered her office on time and left 40 minutes later. At no time did I feel rushed.
This treatment cost $35 each, just $5 more than my deductible in the US. This is the first time I feel like I was actually ‘seen’ by a dermatologist. My friends say the same things about all the doctors they have seen in Chiriquí. Not only is it affordable but pleasant too.