What Impressed Me About Doctors in Mexico

Doctor writing

I grew up in the United States and lived there until moving to Mexico in August of 2015. As a result, I am very familiar with the American health care system.

Living in the U.S., I had gotten accustomed to arriving on time for my appointment only to wait an additional 30 minutes before I saw the doctor. Once the doctor did come in, I knew that I only had a few minutes to cover any health concerns I may have before he or she moved on to the next patient. I always assumed that this is how it worked everywhere in the world — until I moved to Mexico.

I hate to paint an entire profession with a broad brush, so I will focus this article only on our experiences visiting dermatologists both in the United States and in Mexico.

Spending the majority of our lives living under the Florida sun, my wife and I both understand the importance of visiting the dermatologist on an annual basis. In fact, we both went to a highly recommended dermatologist in Florida for skin checks prior to moving to the Riviera Maya.

So far, my wife is the only one of us who has been treated by a dermatologist in Mexico. The following is a comparison of her visits in both countries:

Dermatologist in the United States

The Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner (ARNP) put on a pair of magnifying goggles and quickly went over my wife’s skin from her scalp to her feet. She then spent another couple of minutes talking to us before moving on to her next patient.

Time spent with doctor: approximately 5 minutes

Cost: $30 insurance copay

Dermatologist in Mexico

The doctor, not a nurse or nurse practitioner, conducted a very through interview with Linda to determine her past skin issues and pertinent family history. He then conducted a very detailed examination of every mole, blemish, and dry area on her skin.

If there was a mole that he deemed “suspicious”, he scanned it into the computer using a digital dermatoscope (shown below). He studied a magnified version of the mole before adding it to the digital patient’s file. He said that allows him to track any change in the size and/or shape of the mole during future visits.

medical equipment

A nurse then took Linda into another room and took pictures of her face using ultraviolet imaging technology to detect sun damage. I was very impressed with the quality of the equipment.

As a result of the examination, the doctor had recommended a prescription cream. He then provided us with his personal cell phone number and told us we could contact him with any further questions or concerns.

Time spent with doctor: approximately 40 minutes

Cost: $37 without insurance

Let’s Wrap This Up

Just in case you think that the treatment that we received at the dermatologist’s office in Mexico was atypical, I do not believe it was.

We have several expat friends who have received medical treatment while in Mexico and their experiences were all very similar.  The overwhelming majority report being treated by well-equipped, professional medical personnel who seemed to take a genuine interest in their well being. Two of my friends were even visited in their homes by their doctor when they were too sick to go to his office.

In case you are wondering what this personal level of attention costs without insurance, check out Mexico: A Look at the Costs of Medical and Dental Treatment.

Reading over this article, it sounds like I live in a sleepy little hamlet where the town doctor has enough free time to swing by a patient’s house for tea each day. I am actually referring to the quality of medical care in Playa del Carmen, a city of approximately 150,000 inhabitants.

Just like in the United States, doctors and medical facilities can vary quite a bit. It is always a good idea to speak with expats in your area to get their recommendations.

Author: Qroo Paul

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49 Comments on "What Impressed Me About Doctors in Mexico"

  1. In visiting a dentist in Merida in was extremely impressed with the service. When I needed a specialist for a root canal he came to my dentist office. When I needed X-rays my dentist drove me to there office. One time after a kate evening appointment he even drove me home. Find that in the US.

    • That is impressive. You are right, I don’t think you find that level of service anywhere in the U.S.

  2. I’m really enjoying your blog. My wife and I would like to retire in Mexico….for exactly all the reasons you’ve written about. We’re a lot older than you guys but we’re still adventurous and young in spirit. Considering Baja south of San Felipe, Chapala, and San Miguel Allende.

    • Thanks for reading the blog. I have not been to any of those areas yet, but they are all on my list of places to see in the next couple of years.

  3. Excellent article and spot on. The doctors in PV give you their cell phone number and expect you to call them.I had a doctor get upset with me because I dId not call him on a Sunday because I did not want to bother him. He told me he works seven days a week

    • That is fantastic. It is great to learn that this high level of patient is found across Mexico. Thank you so much for sharing.

  4. I had skin cancer on the side of my nose, have lived in the Yucatan 18 years. What I thought was a blister from my glasses on my nose I let it go for about ten years. While visiting a doctor over some other matter he asked me if there was anything else. I pointed out my blister and he immediately sent me to a dermatologist, was in to see here within the hour. Turns out it was skin cancer , she operated on me for 1 1/2 hours two weeks later, used a new procedure were she pulled skin from my cheek instead of grafting from the back of the neck as I am told it’s what is usual. A 2 inch scar was gone in 2 weeks when I went to pay the cashier she said 1400 pesos , I raised my eyebrows as I thought this was really cheap but she must have thought that I considered it a lot so she sent me to a social worker down the hall, after a short interview she knocked the price down to 120 pesos. Yes , 120 pesos, this was a clinic in Merida that specializes in skin cancer and not a gringo clinic but for locals. Care was great, the work fantastic, have since sent friends to her at her office as she is not at that clinic anymore were the prices are considerably more than what I paid but still much cheaper than up north. This was in 2011.

    • Thank you so much for sharing your experience. Stories like yours reassure me that my wife and I made the right choice moving to Mexico. 🙂

  5. Michael Rosenblum | July 12, 2016 at 10:10 pm | Reply

    I have lived in the Lake Chapala area for many years and have find health care here just as you described it where you are in the Yucatan. Doctors give you their cell phone and email addresses. You are treated my the doctor not by a nurse, you can take as much time as you need to discuss your concerns. One of the most amazing things was once a doctor prescribed a particular medication and could not find it at any pharmacy in my area, the doctor purchased it in Guadalajara and brought it to me on a weekend.

  6. Hayley tomlinson | July 12, 2016 at 10:27 pm | Reply

    I need to see a dermatologist this winter while in Puerto Morelos. May I have the name of yours and the phone nu,her if it’s not too much trouble?

  7. We have had excellent experiences living in Mazatlan as well. My newest dr. Is a MD, chiropractor, acupuncturist and specializes in homeopathic medicine. I love him! I went to him for a facial skin rash, he treated me homeopathicly & 3 wks later my rash is gone. He doesn’t speak much English, we don’t speak that much Spanish, but thanks to him for being current on technology, we were able to google translate back & forth. We have a few Drs. In town that make house calls, & our vet makes house calls! It’s fantastic and all services are very affordable! Mazatlan is a beautiful city, warm friendly people and an all around wonderful place to retire to!

    • I read your post on how much u love my happy place too, Mazatlan which go every Jan. Feb. and March. What is the name and location of your doctor specialist there? I would appreciate any info. Also would like beachfront smaller hotel, apartment, or condo to rent… I have stayed at Las Flores and like it there, within the Golden Zone preferred or somewhere in Olas Altas? Thank u bunches for any info.

  8. Last summer we moved to Mexico City. My 15 year old daughter was having stomach issues and we visited the Dr. He immediately noticed her neck was swollen. We told.him she had it checked out before moving and was told it was just allergies. He ran tests, and to make a long story short she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. She had been having other symptoms for about 2 years but the US Dr brushed it off. After after her thyroid. Removed, the surgeon said she likely had this for 2 years. The big difference with the Dr’s in Mexico is they take time (at least 45 minutes each visit) to exam and take a history. So Thankful we moved to Mexico and had this Dr diagnosis my daughter before it spread any further.

    • Thank you for sharing that story. I am so glad that your daughter was finally able to be correctly diagnosed and treated.

  9. Hi, Thank you for your article. Can I get the name of your dermatologist too? Thank you!

  10. GUILLERMO PULIDO | July 14, 2016 at 1:35 pm | Reply

    Thank you for your article. Im a mexicano born, raised and living in México. ALSO the proud son of two remarkable mexican doctors.

  11. Very impressed with your blog, I’m an endocrinologist practicing in Mexico City, if you would like consultation prices as well as Lab costs for GP and specialists in MxCity I would be glad to providencia you with a range

  12. Hello,
    I am a Mexico/US trained ophthalmologist working in Mexico City. One of the reasons I decided to establish in Mexico instead of staying in the US was the type and quality of medicine you can practice here. Of course equipment is more expensive and financing is almost unheard of but I do get to talk to patients, know what they like, their hobbies, their family. It’s what makes medical practice FUN!!!

    • Thanks for taking the time to comment on the post. Since writing the article, I have received a lot of feedback from both doctors and patients across Mexico. It is clear that the high level of patient care that we experienced in Playa del Carmen is the standard across the country — and we absolutely love that.

  13. American population has a high risk factor for developing Age Related Macular Degeneration. Trained in Mexico, in Germany and USA as MD and Retina Specialist I can assure you that our level of practice and knowledge in México is no lower than the one from first world countries. We research, we develop and we deliver the latest technology and treatments to our patients. If you need a Retina Specialist don´t hesitate to look forward and visit us in this Marvellous country. If you live in Guadalajara México and nearby area and are 55yo and up feel free to ask for screening appointment.

  14. Luis M Vazquez | July 14, 2016 at 8:56 pm | Reply

    Im MD ophthalmologist/retinologist working on the border between coahuila and Texas in piedras negras-eagle Pass, I have less than 2 years working here Im surpised by the amount of patients that come from Tx for medical treatment for all the specialties, many patients complains about the delay in medicare, not personalized (check ups by nurse) and high cost of medical care in US, and as you said they like that here in México the doctor is who take the time to make the medical history and the check up in order to make a correct diagnosis and treatment or surgery if needed

    • Thank you for reading for the blog and taking the time to comment. There is a huge problem with medical care in the United States, and it does not surprise me that you are getting a lot of patients from the U.S. I am super impressed with the quality and cost of the health care in Mexico. Before moving to Mexico, I had never met doctors who cared so much or made such an effort to make sure their patients got all of the attention and treatment that they needed. Thank you very much for everything that you do.

  15. I’ve been living in the us for about 9 years I am from Mexico and just recently my wife moved in with me, she is an MD from Mexico she worked several years in private practice and social public practice so she knows a lot of how MDs treat patients in Mexico and you are spot on. We go to Mexico 2-3 times a year and get all our checkups there out of pocket without insurance, cheaper faster and better service.

  16. But the sad part is how underpaid and underrated a doctor’s work is here in Mexico. People prefer to spend money on nails and hair than taking care of their own health. Talking bout the prices of a general doctor on a regular drugstore are about 30 MEXICAN PESOS per consult. Besides, the bad manners towards the doctor from the patients, and our own people believe that just because of the country, USA doctors are way better than Mexico’s. We still learn the old school, by learning real clinic and not just focusing on exams made by a computer. Liked your blog, greetings

  17. Raul Medina MD | July 15, 2016 at 5:35 pm | Reply

    I’ve found your blog interesting and the opinions shared here are very kind. I am actually a radiologist based at a private hospital in Chihuahua, but lived in Cozumel, Mazatlán and Guadalajara and had USA born patients in all of those places. I learned that these people were well disciplined and grateful guys…they didn’t hesitate on recommending you, so after a short while you’d see your appointments increased markedly. While in Ajijic near Chapala, I was quite dedicated to prostate cancer screening and biopsing, avoiding painful or stressant procedures, to what patients were so thankful as they compared to previous experiences. Some of my actual friends come from that pool of patients. Regards!

  18. Nailed it with your post, we moved to the US from Monterrey Mexico three years ago and were quickly dissapointed with the healthcare system.
    1. Insurance is crazy expensive and even when you have it you still have to pay a lot out of pocket. With The amout I pay per month we get a top tier plan in Mexico. (In Mexico insurance is not for a common flu or rash is reserved for real emergencies, non urgent visits are so cheap that we prefer to pay them out of pocket)

    2. The human factor as you mentioned is spot on, here we barely speak with the doctor, everything is done by the nurse.

    We have two kids so we still have to take them every now and then here in the US. But every time we visit Mexico we try to get check-ups for everyone.

    Same case with the dentist. You can find higher academic preparation and state of the art equipment for a fraction of what you’ll pay in the US even with insurance.

    3. Pharmacies and drug stores. That’s a topic that may require another blog post. :-/

    Anyway, those are just some cultural differences, the US is way better in so many other aspects (except food) and we are very happy to be here now.

    Hopefully we’ll retire in Playa del Carmen too, we love it.

  19. Hi, I took a time to read this and some of the coments. That’s a good opinion you have about the private medical system here in México, but I would like to know if it the service you describe was provided by a private office or was by the well know social security of the country, because in that case, let me tell you (and I’m sure you know this already) that’s why so many mexican people complain about it. Unfortunately, if you don’t have enough resources to pay for a private service of medical attention (which it cost at least 60DLLS) I’m pretty sure you’ll maybe think different or worse about mexican doctors. I would like to be clear that isnt doctors fault, is because of the system and the goverment. We are a lot of middle class or middle-down poor people in Mexico that public hospitals and clinics can’t hold mostly of the users. It’s also well know that if you need labs, xrays or the most basic things like bandages or cotton to have the medic help you need to pay for it, I dont know how is the US medical care but our goverment dont give to the peolple the minimun conditions to be healed by the system. It’s just my opinion without offense anyone.

  20. We have been getting all of out dental care in Puetro Aventuras for six years. Crowns, fillings, root canals, whitenings, cleanings all better and cheaper then we used to pay for copays in Maryland. We put money in a savings account each month and get everthing done when we come there for four months in the winter. It works well for us.

  21. I read your post carefully and that’s completely true and more, we have been working with differents brain and spine dissesse on neurosurgery for a long as 15 years. I recommended to investigate about trigeminal neuralgia muktimodal treatment in Mexico by neurologiasegura, you’ll get so excited and surprised about the quality of surgery and quantity of people has been gotten free of pain. Regards and congratulations

  22. Diego Torres | July 16, 2016 at 7:43 pm | Reply

    Quite interesting blog,
    I am a board certified obgyn in both countries. I think your comments are biased and I totally agree that seeing a private practice physician in Mexico in a big private hospital is great. The physician will take at least 30 to 60 minutes with you (depending on the number of patients scheduled – no more than 6-10 per shift). But if you end in a government hospital (IMSS – ISSTTE – Salubridad, etc) I am pretty sure your experience would be quite different.
    I am glad that all the people here had good experiences, but also talking to my colleagues is not surprising to see the “high number” of surgical or invasive procedures that sometimes are done in Mexico because procedures provide the highest profit.
    Another point to take into consideration is the competence in private practice in Mexico is “brutal” with 4-5 specialists in the same building and certainly, you need to pamper the patients in order to keep them coming to your office.
    I am not saying that is wrong. I agree that we spent no time with the patients in the US side (I personally spent 30 min in my follow ups and 45 min with my new patients but it is difficult to explain this to your practice manager.

    • Thanks for responding. The doctors that we have gone to in Mexico are not in large hospitals, but they are all private. The article was only comparing the level of care that we have received in Mexico compared to our experiences in the United States. In the U.S., we paid a fortune in insurance rates and premiums but the care was not superior. Those insurance rates increased every year and the services they covered dropped every year. It finally came to a point where we were only working just to have medical insurance. That is when we decided to retire in Mexico.

      My blog is geared more toward people in the United States and Canada who are considering moving to Mexico. Healthcare is a huge concern for all of them, so I decided to share some of our personal experiences.

      Thanks again for taking the time to comment and have a great weekend.

  23. Hey, great blog congrats. I’m a Mexican living in Dallas and I can attest to the oposite side of the story.
    When we moved to the US we were perplexed by the level of attention you get from pediatricians around here. We moved with 2 small children, a 6 month old and a 3 year old and we were used to having the cell phone of our pediatrician if anything came up (even for questions about the dosage of the medicine). If the kids ran a high fever overnight or over the weekend we called and got a reply either from our doctor or another doctor (not a nurse) in the group that was “on call”. Prices for top doctors in Mexico city are high ($1,500 pesos per visit or around $80 USD) but care, equipment and friendliness are top notch.
    I also thank you for showing the real face of Mexico. I hope one day we can treasure our similarities as well as our differences and make between Canada, Mexico and the US a block like the EU.

  24. Dr. Miguel Tapia-Díaz | July 17, 2016 at 3:26 pm | Reply

    Hello! I am a certified Ophtalmologist living in Mexico city. I’ve got 20 years of experience and speak english. My office is very centric located in col. Roma, very close from Chilpancingo subway station. My secretary speak 100% english. I make surgery and consultation an I am at your orders!

  25. Dr. Miguel Tapia-Díaz | July 17, 2016 at 3:36 pm | Reply

    Dr. Miguel Tapia-Díaz information: my office is located in Tepic street number 136, 306 office. My phone numbers are 55 64 08 49 and 55 64 10 63. As I told my secretary speak 100% english. I am at your service!

  26. There are good doctors and bad doctors in the north side of Lake Chapala. My husband was unlucky to pick on a bad one. We were kept in a primitive small cottage hospital with no hot water. My husband had extreme stomach pain. I called the doctor who put him in this hospital and given Sennacott. None of his regular meds. The doctor would not let us fly home to Canada. I asked every day to go home but was denied. We had gone to Mazatlan in Dec. knowing that he had blood in his urine but our Canadian doctor said just get it checked out. We went to this doctor in January but he ignored that problem and insisted that my husband have a Pacemaker implanted, this was done in February and at the end of February my husband had this dreadful pain. We finally got permission to fly home in a Lear Jet air ambulance. My husband died on board on 5 March 2013. The plane turned back to Guadalajara where I asked for an autopsy. The powers that be said no, that there was no reason. I am in dreadful shock that I didn’t insist on speaking to that person. I’m grieving to this day wondering what he died from. I am going to Lake Chapala in January and I am going to hire a Lawyer to see what can be done. So I say be careful. There are good and bad doctors.

  27. Donnie Sanderson | July 30, 2016 at 6:40 pm | Reply

    Would like the name and contact info for your dermatologist if possible. Have lived in Playacar for 5 years now and have some new additions on my skin. Thanx in advance

  28. Thank you for your blog. I’d like to have the name and info of your dermatologist, please. God bless you and your wife.

  29. I’ve just found your blog! I am an Australian moving to Mexico in 4 weeks. We will be living on the west coast, in the state of Nayarit. What is the best way to find a dermatologist? If anyone can recommend one in either, Puerto Vallarta, Tepic or Guadalajara (further away, but will probably be going there a few times a year anyway), I’d really appreciate it.

    This is a big move for us, but very excited 🙂

    • Congratulations on your move. One you arrive, just check with other expats for tips on the best doctors to visit. That is what we did.

  30. Greetings – may someone kindly give me the name of a good dermatologist and a good dentist in Merida.

    It is greatly appreciated!

  31. Dear Paul, I left a message requesting the info to contact the dermatologist, but I think it’s gone missing. Would you be able to email me the telephone number and name please. Many thanks

    • Hi Lis,

      I sent you an email on September 19th with the info. Check your spam filter, it may have ended up there. If you cannot find it, send me a message via our facebook page and I can send it to you that way.

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