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Sick in Spain?? How to get a doctor?

Old Jul 20th, 2012, 04:08 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,215
Sick in Spain?? How to get a doctor?

We leave for Spain next week and my husband was sick all this week with the flu that is finally clearing up. Last night my son tested positive for strep. He's on antibiotics. This morning my other son woke up with a bad stomach ache, which I am fearing is also strep. I'm going back to the doctor today. I've been fighting it all week. I've been taking all kinds of immunity boosters. But I don't feel 100%.

My big questions is what if we need a doctor while on vacation. How does it all work??
I know we all got sick in Italy a few years ago and had difficulty navigating the pharmacy.

Any advice??
MiamiBeachMomma is offline  
Old Jul 20th, 2012, 04:20 AM
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your hotel can call a doctor. Your health insurance that you will be using overseas ( or travel/medical insurance) will need to be notified and they can also send you someone or tell you where to go. There are a lot of local clinics that take walk-ins. Just keep all receipts and make sure they do a DETAILED report and diagnosis of the problem.

pre-exisitng conditions may not be covered under travel insurance.
lincasanova is offline  
Old Jul 20th, 2012, 05:49 AM
Join Date: May 2007
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And if you have rented an apartment with no concierge to call a doctor, you can google for English-speaking doctors in the cities you plan to visit and take that list with you.

From personal experience, with illnesses that were also more nuisances than life-threatening emergencies, I can say that the trip to the doctors was always without problems.

If you get a prescription you will find pharmacies everywhere. There is not much to navigate but to hand over the prescription and pay.
If the doctor suggests non-prescription drugs it can be helpful to ask him to write down the name of a brand common in Spain so the pharmacy knows what you need.

If your insurance does not cover any of the above as at least for husband and sons their problems can be seen as a pre-existing condition, it should not drive you into poverty.
I can't exactly remember what I paid, but the consulation only (no x-rays or treatments) was around €50, and the antibiotics maybe €20.
Your mileage will obviously vary. But I think if you go to a normal family doctor or a local clinic you don't have to be afraid of the invoice.
Cowboy1968 is online now  
Old Jul 20th, 2012, 07:44 AM
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Thanks for the advice!! I took the kids to the pediatrician this morning. No strep for the little one, yay! I am bringing extra antibiotics just in case. I am also going to stock up at CVS on the OTC stuff. I will write down names of English speaking doctors before we leave. My husband mentioned there may be a benefit on his AmEx too, we have the travel insurance and I paid right away to make sure the pre-existing condition wouldn't be an issue. Cowboy-you are right if we have to pay out of pocket-we will!!
MiamiBeachMomma is offline  
Old Jul 20th, 2012, 08:34 AM
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Please use HAND SANITIZER(S)!! BTW, there are many OTC medications in Spain that are WAY, WAY better than the counterparts OTC in the US. Everytime I go there I replenish inflamation pain meds, tooth pain meds, etc... Keep receipts for everything; you may be able to claim via your travel insurance or health insurance.

Back in 1989, one of my first trips to Spain. I arrived in malaga with full blown Bronchitis (it was the times when smoking in planes was still allowed). The hotel where I stayed had a Doctor that made the rounds every afternoon. He was sent to my room, examined me, wrote a prescription that had me up and going in less than 24 hours...that's how good the medicine in Spain is!
Viajero2 is offline  
Old Jul 20th, 2012, 09:07 AM
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Depending where you are, contact the Embassy or consulate as they have lists of english speaking medical personnel who ae equipped to handle english speaking travelers. I needed a dentist in Florence and consulate helped out and the DDS ws great.

Just be sure you have enough $$ to pay cash.

I also had travel insurance (medical) and called the oveseas number an explained the issue to them and they were als invaluable. Got home, submitted my bill and the insurance company paid.
jan47ete is offline  
Old Jul 20th, 2012, 01:53 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Several years ago, in Santiago de Campostela, I discovered that I had left my meds at a hotel in Pedraza. However, the hotel in Pedraza could not locate them.

I had copies of the prescriptions, but was unfamiliar with pharmacy regs in Spain, so I went to the hospital ER asking "what do I do?". I learned that drugs have different names in different countries. [Who knows what "Zocor" means in Bulgarian!] "What were the names of my drugs when sold in Spain?" The ER docs spent about 1 1/2 hrs researching that problem but were not satisfied they were correct. It was a Sunday, so the ER docs called the local drug rep at home to verify the translation. Early Monday morning, the drug rep dropped the needed meds at my hotel. Gratis! Many letters of thanks went out on that one!

My guess is that, as in the US, an ER is way down the list on how to proceed, but I believe it is an option.
weber6560 is offline  
Old Jul 21st, 2012, 12:49 AM
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Of course the ER is an option, especially in your situation.

Just a warning for NON-EMERGENCIES..if you do not have insurance. It will cost you a LOT more to be looked at there for a simple sore throat or back pain than a clinic. There is practically a flat fee for ER visits regardless of severity.

I imagine this is standard practice in the U.S., too.
lincasanova is offline  
Old Jul 21st, 2012, 04:56 AM
Join Date: May 2003
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Sounds like things may be under control. For your sake, I hope they are. Not to rain on your parade, but my husband either brought with him from the US to Spain or caught on the plane a terrible stomach virus, which I then caught some 4 days later. We spent most of the first week being sick. Fortunately, we didn't require a doctor but dealing with illness in a foreign country is really a pain in the ass and the disapppointment of missing our travel days was difficult to handle. Give it good thought before you go...perhaps postponing would be wise.
ashcanannie is offline  
Old Jul 21st, 2012, 05:29 AM
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Our hotels or real estate agents for rentals accessed English speaking doctors for us several times while vacationing in Europe. One even made a house call and all spent a lot of time with us. We have always received excellent medical care in Europe.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Old Jul 21st, 2012, 06:12 AM
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Contacting the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate is an excellent recommendation. Not only will they have a list of medical personnel who speak English, but the people on this list will have been vetted by the Department of State's Regional Medical Officer for that region.
longhorn55 is offline  
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