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best medical facilities in the caribbean

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Jul 31st, 2006, 07:44 AM
  #1
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best medical facilities in the caribbean

My wife and I are wanting to travel this coming month, and my wife is 20 weeks pregnant. We met with the Dr today that suggests that we may not want to visit an Island that is too remote or does not offer/have advanced medical technology. We want to take a trip but need help finding the best spot. HELP
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Jul 31st, 2006, 08:32 AM
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Puerto Rico has the best medical facilities in the Caribbean. Many of the EX-pats living on other islands in the Caribbean go there when they need medical attention.

Without knowing more about your wife's particular needs (other than being 20 weeks pregnant) it's hard to steer you in the right direction. If you are concerned about medical care follow your doctors advice and avoid most of the smaller islands in the Caribbean. Other islands with decent medical facilities (but not ncessarily "advanced medical technology") are St. Thomas, Aruba and St. Martin.

If your wife's condition is serious you might want to consider purchasing medical evacuation insurance which will cover the costs of transporting her back home in the event of a medical emergency.

Quite honestly, if your wife has serious medical concerns with her pregnancy you don't want to be on a small island in the Caribbean should something happen - it's too big of a risk.
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Jul 31st, 2006, 09:01 AM
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Assuming that your wife is in good health and that you're just being cautious because of the pregnancy, all of the islands suggested so far would be fine. Grenada has a medical school and I would assume corresponding medical facilities. Most large resorts on any island offer an on-call doctor.

I would be sure to drink bottled water only, even on islands with tap water that is known to be perfectly drinkable, just to be safe.
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Jul 31st, 2006, 09:30 AM
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As a resident of both Old San Juan and St. John Virgin islands--I recommend stayin in Old San Juan or Condado-isla Verde area of San Juan--PAVIA hospital and Ashford medical center 10 minutes away. Or St. Thomas Virgin islands.

Stay at Sheraton Old San Juan
www.sheratonoldsanjuan.com

In st thomas Virgin islands
There is a FANTASTIC pediatrician and neo-natal facilitity-- ask for Dr. Randal-- at Schneider Hospital St. Thomas. She's amazing too.

Stay at:
Emerald Beach Resort
www.emeraldbeach.com
Stay in building 1200--room 1203-1204-1205. Right on beach first floor...no noise.

See lifestyle and culture at:
www.virginvoices.com

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Jul 31st, 2006, 01:06 PM
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Not that you will need it, but the hospital in St. Thomas just significantly improved the neonatal/premature birth facilities and a tiny premature baby of less than 3 pounds was very well cared for and was fine.
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Aug 2nd, 2006, 07:59 PM
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While, I'm obviously not the OP, thanks to all who replied re: this interesting topic--and for giving specific advice about where to stay to be near good facilities.
Considering post-retirement move to St John, I asked lots of questions on recent trip.
Seemed biggest complaint from residents I met was availability of good medical care, especially for emergencies. Everyone agreed that for something major (these were adults, not pediatric pts) you'd have to fly to the mainland.
A colleague worked at hospital on St Croix and said it should be avoided (as nurse or patient) at all costs. Any thought on this? Has anyone been hosptialized there?

Brutus, good luck to you, your wife, and Baby Brutus
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Aug 2nd, 2006, 08:54 PM
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Having lived thru a few medical crises on a very remote island for the past 13 years I will agree that San Juan probably has the best medical facilities in the region. I can attest that Pavia in San Juan is wonderful for emergency medical care, especially considering there are many English speaking doctors on staff.
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Aug 3rd, 2006, 03:19 AM
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I had a cataract removed at the hospital here in St. Thomas. My only complaint was I was charged more than twice what it would have cost in the States (about $6500.00) because I have insurance. I will now go to San Juan for the other eye. There has been a great improvement at the hospital here & there is a new Cancer Center just opened.

You can buy insurance if you move here for medical evacuation in case of something severe & it's not real expensive. MASA is the name.
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Aug 3rd, 2006, 03:38 AM
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A family in our town had a horrific experience with a hospital in San Juan--sorry don't know which one--just two summers ago. The husband was suffering from pancreatitis and was rushed to a hospital from the Hilton. The wife had a very difficult time getting anyone to help him or care for him. She reported that the system in the ER was more "first come first served" than what we are used to (triaging the worst patients).

To make a long story short, the husband died within 36 hours of their arrival of the hospital after the wife had been assured that he was improving. She went back to the Hilton with her 7 year old son to get things in order and they called to tell her he had died.

Sorry to be a downer...we travel to St. Croix annually and don't think too much about the medical care issue...but it's a true, tragic story. It taught me that if we ever become ill during our travels that I will call back to the states to some of our medical friends and determine the best medical facility to go to. And if it's possible to transport myself or family by plane back to the states, I'll do it quickly.
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Aug 3rd, 2006, 05:43 AM
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I know plenty of horror stories accur in hospitals right here in the good old USA. I wouldn't condemn an entire hospital because of a few tragedies.
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Aug 3rd, 2006, 05:43 AM
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That should be "occur".
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Aug 3rd, 2006, 01:18 PM
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Carrybean, thanks for info on insurance.
Statia, thanks for feedback on San Juan hospital. Ccrosner--what a sad story.
And schmerl, I agree: it's true about a few "bad apples" etc. I work in a large hospital chain and we're labeled often based on a few negative experiences, while the vast majority of people receive good care.
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Aug 3rd, 2006, 02:49 PM
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Jamaica has one very good facility:

http://www.mobayhope.org/

...the public hospitals aren't great.
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Aug 3rd, 2006, 04:30 PM
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Calinurse, I'm sorry I wasn't clear (too early in the AM.) I meant there is insurance that will evacuate you to the States for serious medical emergencies, along with your traveling companion. From what I hear, they're quite good. MASA is the name but thankfully, I haven't had to use them.

The Roy L. Shneider Hospital here IS 100 times better than just a few years ago, thank God but there are good hospitals in San Juan too. I'm sorry about the bad experience the previous poster had.
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Aug 4th, 2006, 07:30 AM
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brutus, we went though this ourselves a couple of years ago and decided that we wanted to be only a non-stop flight away. We ended up going to Bermuda (we can't stay away, now!). Less than 2 hours away from the East Coast by plane. Think I was around 20 weeks when we went, too. Bermuda has a pretty advanced economy that is not entirely depending upon the tourism industry (lots of financial services business going on there), and a relatively high standard of living.

Did not have direct contact with the medical facilities, but have the impression, based upon discussions with locals we have met on various trips, that care is pretty good. For more complicated cases (like ongoing cancer treatment, etc.), sounds like a lot of locals head to Boston.

Perhaps your doctor can help you find out more specific information on medical options in the places that interest you.
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Aug 4th, 2006, 07:34 AM
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and yes, I do realize that Bermuda is not the caribbean, but it's still worth a trip!
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Aug 4th, 2006, 09:38 AM
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cantstayhome--
We also travelled to Bermuda over Labor Day weekend the year that our daughter was born October 23rd. It worked out well. Can't say that we went specifically because of any medical concerns. Just wanted to go somewhere and it seemed a good spot from Boston. We had a nice time although I remember being quite hot (I was 8 months pregnant!).
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