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Post archives under the tag: senior care in Chile
Medical Care You Can Expect as a Senior:
My partner Ivonne is from Chile’, a magical destination of spectacular beauty, pristine national parks, seven weather zones and hospitable people.
The modern nation of Chile’ was founded by German immigrants in the late 1880s and their Germanic ways left an indelible mark on the nation.
Chilean society is low key, structured and rather formal. Professionals are highly trained and take pride in their work.
It is a progressive nation that emerged from the dark years of dictatorship with a solid commitment to a social contract with its people. This commitment includes an excellent education system, universal health insurance to all people and funding of superb medical infrastructure.
Emergency Care in Chile
We were notified that Ivonne’s mother, Helga, a feisty 82 year young woman required immediate cardiac surgery. I heard, with great concern, that her aortic valve required replacement.
Armed with 20-years of healthcare experience, half of which was at a major academic medical center, I had every reason to be concerned. Aortic valve replacement is considered a complex procedure with challenging recovery.
The location of the valve makes minimally invasive surgery nearly impossible. Frankly, in the USA, patients are routinely steered away from undergoing this procedure at Helga’s advanced age.
Ivonne and I were very concerned and booked ourselves on a flight to Santiago. Eight hours after leaving Miami, we landed at Santiago’s modern international airport. Following a brief detention at the airport’s “food police” station and a $210 fine for brining in to the county banned fruit (a Chilean apple that Ivonne bought in Miami as a snack for the flight), we headed South on a modern expressway to Clinica Alemana (the German Hospital).
Healthcare System in Chile
The Clinic is a modern 500 bed facility some 40 minutes from the airport. It was 10am, surgery started at 7am and by noon the surgeon came out to inform the family that the operation was routine and that Helga was heading to post-operative recovery.
I was impressed. And that will not be the only time, as Helga was out of the ICU within three days and after four more days was sent home. Three days later, she was back on her daily walk to the neighborhood café’ for her afternoon coffee (an institution in Chile’).
As a seasoned healthcare executive, I felt compelled to talk with the surgeon and the hospital administrator and share my profound appreciation for the positive experience and clinical outcome.
I did so and met a humble US-educated surgeon and a hospital executive who took their time to enlighten me about the procedure and the quality of care at the hospital.
I was impressed with the outcome, the family’s positive experience, the kindness of the nurses, the skills of the cardiovascular surgical team and the optimistic outlook of the cardiologist who insisted that Helga is a viable patient for this complex surgery.
With or without accreditation by Joint Commission International, La Clinica Alemana is easily on-par with the BEST hospitals in the USA. For those who may want to retire in Chile’ (like Ivonne and I), you can take GREAT comfort in knowing that Helga’s experience is not an isolated incident. Chile’ has excellent healthcare professionals, good facilities and a warm hearted attitude towards the patient and the family.
Read Part II on Healthcare for Seniors in Chile’.
Authorization and Notice of Use: Published with authorization of International-Triage, LLC. Reprinting and republishing requires expressed written permission of the writer and International-Triage, LLC. Copyright International-Triage, LLC 2010
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