HEALTH CARE one’s personal comments

.care varies very widely in Panama. It can excellent or it can be non existent.
All I know is every time I have had surgery in the USA (mostly for broken bones caused by doing stupid things in the snow), I woke up sick to my stomach from the anesthesia, and I’ve had 4 surgeries in Panama and never experienced this. So I have to say that the anesthesiologists here were very skilled in striking a balance between enough to knock me out and not too much so my system was overloaded. All of these took place in Panama City, at private hospitals. I don’t know what exactly they used for anesthesia on any of those occasions. All I know is I felt OK when I woke up. Post surgical pain (if there is no complications) is primarily caused by inflammation and the docs in Panama (at least, the better private ones) make it a point to give you anti inflammatories as well as pain killers. Or at least, mine did. And I would know to take them anyway, as I have done a lot of research on natural healing and nutritional medicine.
But there is a big difference between the kind of temporary pain that you feel after a typical surgery (of course, it depends on the surgery) and the pain suffered by someone who is dying of cancer or some other painful condition. And that’s where the problem is in Panama. I have gotten several messages and calls from people who were complaining about themselves, family or friends who were terminal and denied adequate pain relief and I have researched the issue and its a terrible problem everywhere in the developing world, including everywhere in Latin America. I got a horrific message a few weeks ago from a man who was caring for a dying friend, and he was in horrible agony and the doctors would not prescribe morphine. I consider that a crime against humanity. He was in a remote area, my guess is that if he had been in Panama City being treated by one of the really good oncologists, it would have been different, or maybe in Boquete or David.
A couple of years ago, Panama did liberalize its law a tiny bit,in that the length of time that you can get a prescription for morphine was raised from 7 days to 15 days, or 30 in some cases. But they still don’t give PDA’s (which are routine in the USA and Europe), perhaps that has changed very recently.
Getting back to what triggered these comments: Third world countries have unfortunately failed to properly interpret international anti narcotics conventions in that they pay heed to the restrictions but fail to heed the other part of them, which is that people who are in need of pain medication are supposed to get it. See, for example:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Panama_laws_for_expats/post?act=reply&messageNum=16604 .. and http://www2.edc.org/lastacts/archives/archivesJan03/printeditorial.pdf

I remember that this was a problem many years ago in the USA. I remember my husband visiting his mother in the hospital when she was dying of multiple myeloma and was in horrible pain. I told him to tell her to push the button, and learned that she did not have a PDA. I called the hospital and went through my bad cop routine and she got her PDA in 20 minutes. This was about 20 years ago. Its different now in first world countries, though there are still problems, but far better (in England, if you have terminal pain, they give you a “Brompton’s cocktail” of heroin and cocaine so you can get pain relief but retain consciousness so you can spend quality time with your family. Can’t get that in the USA or Panama!)
If you are in that situation in Panama, you absolutely need somebody to be your advocate. There is a hospice group in Boquete that helps people with this, and Remona is trying to organize one in Panama City. But you need a personal advocate who will put his or her foot down and insist that you get what you need, when you are too sick to do it for yourself. Its a many faceted problem: A legal problem, a medical problem, an economics problem, a social problem and a cultural problem.

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One Response to “HEALTH CARE one’s personal comments”

  1. Bill King says:

    Don Winners post about Jerry Hall are fabricated by his own imagination, Jerry Hall has won a defamation of Character suit against Don Winner for $350,000 if he should ever return to the USA Mr. Hall will demand payment and proceed to collect. Mr. Winner is known for his stories such as Wild Bill, he was never a part of that investigation he was part of the problem helping Wild Bill get rid of the properties on Don Winners web site. Mr. Winner should be avoided at all costs first he can spell as a writer should and second of all you just have to read his blog to understand that insanity must run in his family. It is apparent This all stemmed from Jerry Hall getting two of Don Winners co-hearts arrested and sent to Prison 1) Tom McMurrain and Two Eddie Kahn, that is what has set Don Winner on to Jerry Hall. Jerry Hall killed Don Winners money train…. Sorry Don You really must be poor.

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