San Juan - Post Report Question and Answers

Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

The quality of care is comparable to the U.S. as most doctors have been trained there but you can expect to wait around a lot and speaking Spanish really helps when it comes to making appointments and speaking with the nurses. - Jan 2014

Dengue is a HUGE problem. Medical care here is OK. It is not like going to the doctor in the US. Most doctors claim to take appointments, but will tell you to come in at either 9AM or 1PM. When you get to the doctor your name goes on the list and the doctor takes patients on a first come-first-serve basis. This leaves many people sitting in waiting rooms for several hours. Plan accordingly with snacks, cell phone chargers and toys if you have small children. Nursing care is a joke at best. Nurses do not usually use a stethoscope when attempting to take your blood pressure, nor are they allowed to administer IV medicines in the hospital. If you are in the hospital you will need to bring your own sheets, pillows, blankets and towels. In order to keep infections down they keep most areas of the hospital so cold you need to bring a winter coat. I'm not exaggerating, you will see people going into the ER with down parkas. I add this story only to highlight the nonsense that is medical care in PR. For emergencies with children I recommend San Jorge hospital in Santurce. We had a medical emergency and went to the ER at Centro Medico (because it was the closest) and waited over 7 hours for treatment (as in: not even seen, not on a gurney, sitting in the waiting area holding my child in my arms for that long) and only got treatment by threatening to leave, which at that point they threatened us will calling Social Services for leaving without having been seen. At the end of it all, I had to give my daughter medicine from my purse because they didn't have it at the hospital, and the nurse chewed me out for it being generic and not name brand. Compare that experience to a few months later when our youngest broke her arm and we were in and out of San Jorge in 4 hours, sadly her broken arm was misdiagnosed as nursemaid's elbow, which was discovered in follow up care with the orthopedist the next day, an appointment I called and INSISTED on. Lucky us, we only had to wait 1.5 hours to be 'fit in' for that. As I said, a big bunch of nonsense. Don't get sick or hurt here. - Jun 2013

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