At first I was nervous that the doctors here would not be up to date. The Mexico-wide lack of concern over cleanliness and hygiene along with the worn out furniture and the absence of that antiseptic hospital smell in consultation rooms made me feel as if somehow the medical treatments would also be old and worn out. But I have found that I really like the service I get from local doctors. I have a doctor who has a consultation room at her house only a 5 minute walk from here. I have her phone number and can call her any time day or night. When I call her I usually get permission to come right up. She only charges 100 pesos a visit, so Luis and I don’t hesitate to visit her when we are in need.
My dentist is also a 5 minute walk from my house and uses all of the same modern equip- ment my dentist uses back home. He sends me to a special clinic to get x-rays first and then does the work in his neighborhood office. His schedule is flexible enough to make appointments within one or two days. He has a small practice in Chicago as well as the one here in our neighborhood, so he can understand what I’m talking about if I use the English words for parts of my mouth. He charges a lot less than my dentist back home and provides the same professional, and a more relaxed and personal, service.
I found both my doctor and my dentist through personal referral. Just as there are good doctors here, there are plenty of bad ones, too. Ignorance in the general population drives dishonesty and lack of professionalism among some so-called professionals in Mexico. Talk to people you trust about where they go for medical care. If you can, get two opinions before you visit a new doctor. In the end you can have a better experience in Mexico than in your overpriced HMO.
Due to their common experiences, other expatriates are generally the best people to ask for referrals. Of course, when you first arrive in Mexico, you might not know anyone, so you could start with the yellow pages under “medicos” (and there are tons; over 60 pages in the Cuernavaca yellow pages!). Those who speak English list that in their advertisement. You can also put a post up on an expatriate forum. Once you find a professional, honest doctor then they can become an excellent resource for referrals to specialists in other fields.
If you don’t like the first doctor you find, try another. I’ve gone to some doctors based on referrals and felt like they were just stringing me along to get me to come back and pay them more money. I’ve also found a couple of doctors who are professional, helpful, and give help over the phone without charging.
I don’t think that it’s necessarily true that more expensive doctors are always better, but so far I’ve had better experiences with the doctors that charge more. One of my favorite doctors is also an expatriate from the United States (and she charges on the higher end of the scale).
Excerpted and adapted from the ebook “Mexico: The Trick is LIVING Here” by Julia Taylor.