My Experience Visiting an Orthopedist in Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Source: iStockphoto

Yesterday, I published an article for tourists about the different medical treatment options in Mexico called Visiting Mexico: What to Do If You Get Sick or Injured. 

The timing of that article coincided with my own trip to the doctor yesterday. Since readers often ask questions about the cost and quality of medical care in Mexico, I decided to write a quick post about it.

The Backstory

About a week ago, Linda and I headed to a nearby resort for the day to enjoy the sun and partake in some adult beverages.

You might be thinking that the last sentence had something to do with the “incident” that later prompted me to seek medical attention — and it did, but probably not the way you would think.

When we arrived at the resort, I saw a swim up pool bar and decided I would get my first adult beverage of the day. Unfortunately, as soon as I was entering the pool, I slipped and fell backwards.

After I stood back up, I did a quick damage assessment: one scraped forearm (no biggie), one very sore left hand (I can hold a glass with the other), and one rapidly swelling foot (that one might be an issue — later).

I decided that none of the injuries necessitated cancelling the day’s activities and I carried on. After a few drinks, I felt great again.

A week later, the hand was almost completely healed, as well as the scraped forearm; however, the foot was not fairing as well. It was still swollen in one area and it hurt to walk.

That’s when I decided that it was time to get it looked at by a professional.

Seeking Treatment

There are numerous doctors and medical facilities to choose from in our area. Where we choose to go, depends on our particular need at the time.

For example, if I have something minor like an ear infection, I am comfortable visiting a pharmacy doctor for $50 pesos ($2.50 USD). But, if it’s something more serious like assessing the extent of damage to my foot, I would rather see a specialist in a facility that has diagnostic equipment.

In this case, I chose a private hospital in Playa del Carmen called Hospiten. If you remember from my last article, private hospitals/clinics typically cost more but they make up for it with great care and short wait times.

I was able to make an appointment with an orthopedist immediately. The appointment began promptly at the scheduled time (which is a huge deal for me) and the doctor took his time examining the foot. He was very professional, friendly and knowledgeable.

The doctor said that he needed to take x-rays of the foot to determine if it was broken. A technician immediately took me to another part of the hospital and took two x-rays of my foot. She then sent me back to the doctor’s office where he reviewed them without any delay whatsoever.

It turns out that I did fracture one of my toes, but the orthopedist said it should heal on it’s own without any trouble. I guess my decision to stay at the resort and enjoy myself following my fall was a good one after all.

Costs:

Consultation with an orthopedist: $800 pesos* ($40 USD)

Two x-rays: $760 pesos* ($38 USD)

Not having to wait around: Priceless

Total: $1,560 pesos* ($78 USD)

* Note- Prices were out-of-pocket with no medical insurance and include a discount for residents

Let’s Wrap This Up

Linda and I have been extremely impressed with the medical care that we, and many of our friends, have received in Mexico.

We feel very comfortable that our medical needs will continue to be met as we grow older in paradise.

Related Articles

A Trip to the Physical Therapist in Mexico

The Cost of Getting Surgery South of the Border

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About the Author

Q-Roo Paul
Paul Kurtzweil (Q-Roo Paul) was a deputy sheriff in Florida for 25 years before retiring at the rank of lieutenant in 2015. He and his wife moved to Mexico looking to maximize their retirement income. They later started a blog called Two Expats Mexico (qroo.us) to share their experiences, as well as information about the logistical and legal aspects of retiring south of the border.

45 Comments on "My Experience Visiting an Orthopedist in Playa del Carmen, Mexico"

  1. Rob Ramsey | June 13, 2018 at 9:31 am |

    Do the doctors speak English?

  2. David Baker | June 13, 2018 at 9:32 am |

    What was the cost at Hospiten?

    • Q-Roo Paul | June 13, 2018 at 9:34 am |

      Consultation with an orthopedist: $800 pesos* ($40 USD)

      Two x-rays: $760 pesos* ($38 USD)

      Total: $1,560 pesos* ($78 USD)

  3. Charles Wilson | June 13, 2018 at 9:32 am |

    We have had to use Hospiten twice in the last three years and had the same great service,and very little waiting.
    Much better than USA

  4. Susan Ingram | June 13, 2018 at 9:33 am |

    I love these very specific posts on medical care. Linda recently suggested this hospital to me to get my un-diagnosed back checked out while on vacation. I did contact Hospiten through their contact form and they sent me a follow-up email to set an appointment. I was not sure how to get any of my questions answered prior to setting the appt, and there was no response to a request for info. If I’d have had more lead time, I would have pursued it in more detail, but I’m guessing I may just need to go down there on my next trip and make the appt. in person first. Mostly I need brush up on my spanish, as I would not be comfortable on the phone for sure. Maybe you have a protocol to follow for tourists getting treatment in a non-emergency?

    Thanks for all the great info. At those prices, I might get my whole body x-rayed and bring my dog in too…lol.

    Gin in SBarbara

  5. I developed a small growth on my back that started to concerned me. I called a dermatologist and got an appointment for the following morning. She removed the growth in the office and sent it for pathology. Went back for a follow up appointment the following week where she cleaned the area and redressed it. Fast dependable professional service all for 1600 pesos.

  6. Charles Wilson | June 13, 2018 at 9:38 am |

    Yes the doctor and nurse and receptionist spoke english

  7. Charles Wilson | June 13, 2018 at 9:40 am |

    Sorry for your injury! This was a great blog !

  8. Glad you’re ok and no worse for the wear. Thank you for the great blog.

  9. John Ramm | June 13, 2018 at 9:59 am |

    Hi Paul,
    Sorry about your foot!
    My first non-serious event occurred a few days after moving into our condo, which has several steps to negotiate many times a day. If it hadn’t been for my forearms, I would have done a complete face-plant. As it happened, my forearms and hands stung for a week. (Watch out for flip-flops and pick up your feet, right?!) No real damage that time.

    The lessons I’ve learned the hard way have taught me that everything in Mexico is built to last, and consequently is hard, heavy, sharp-edged, slippery (more so when wet) and just waiting for a screw-up. Also gravity is stronger down here!
    Being tall, I also try to stay aware of low doorways, and avoid wearing baseball caps inside, which block the approaching overhead view. Ouch!

    We use a private doctor, who is expensive in pesos, but compared to the States is amazingly reasonable. Like $25 – $50 USD for a quick check-up.
    Thanks for continuing with your great blog! Looking forward to your book!

  10. Wow! I’m going to visit an ortho tomorrow for a bad knee in the US. I have great insurance as I am not 65. I’ve had several surgeries and an MRI runs about $4000.00 and the ortho for 5 minutes is typically 700 or so.
    We pay $11,000 a year for our insurance with my husband’s employer. I am self employed. I’d move and retire now but my husband needs some convincing. He will not admit it but I know he is afraid of having a heart attack out of the US and not finding good care. Had a stint inserted last year in a secondary artery with no damage to his heart.

  11. Roberta Smallwood | June 13, 2018 at 10:18 am |

    I also had fantastic care in Mexico. Being Canadian I knew I was looking at a 2 to 3 year wait for a total knee replacement. After arriving in Mexico at the end of October my knee became unquestionably sore and I could not stand. My local Dr suggested it need two weeks of couch rest. I did this and for about two days after it was fine but on the third day back to square one. At that point I had a consultation and X rays at a private clinic and hospital. Yes my knee was a disaster. Had a total knee replacement which I only waited 1week for. Anyway it was a huge success at the price of 9000 USD. Thanks to Dr Ricardo Lopez in Puert Vallarta

  12. Mary Nance | June 13, 2018 at 10:20 am |

    Do you know if cremation services are available in mexico?
    We stay six months in P.A. In the winter.
    Would want to be cremated there.

    • You can get cremated here. You want to be prepared. We just went to the funeral home to have the necessary paperwork and living will was also taken care of there. We are in the Chapala area and probably works the same in most of Mexico. Cost of the paperwork for creation for myself and my wife was $500 pesos and the living will another $500 pesos. If I prepaid for the creation it would be fixed at $10,000 pesos or $500 USD. If I am going to die somewhere, Mexico is the place to do it.

  13. Laura Wiig Hoffman | June 13, 2018 at 10:23 am |

    Thanks for this post. Glad you are ok! Are you guys ‘paying as you go’? Or did you need to carry private health insurance in order to get an appointment at a private hospital? I think I remember that you did not use either of the public MX insurance groups.

    • Q-Roo Paul | June 13, 2018 at 10:28 am |

      We have private insurance but it has a $1000 USD deductible and we only carry it for major medical expenses. Otherwise, we just pay as we go. You don’t need insurance to get an appointment at any of the private hospitals.

      • Laura Wiig Hoffman | June 13, 2018 at 11:27 am |

        Thank you! If you had expenses over $1000 USD – do the private hospitals/doctors file with your MXPrivate Insurance Company similar to here in US? No requests for you to prepay in cash and then you would seek reimbursement?

        • Q-Roo Paul | June 13, 2018 at 12:16 pm |

          We haven’t had to do that yet but our neighbors have. According to them it could work either way depending on the relationship between the insurance company and that particular facility.

          One of our neighbors had a surgery at Hospiten, she paid and was later reimbursed by insurance. She was told that if she had had the surgery at another hospital in the area. Costamed, the insurance company would have dealt with the hospital directly.

  14. Cherry Scott | June 13, 2018 at 10:34 am |

    I also had great service at Hospiten and very inexpensive compared to Canada with no wait time.

  15. TIFFANY WALLACE | June 13, 2018 at 10:50 am |

    Sorry for your injury Paul! Thank you always for the great info!

  16. Kristia Snider | June 13, 2018 at 11:06 am |

    Excellent article. Glad your toe will heal in its own.

  17. lindy gelber | June 13, 2018 at 11:07 am |

    Paul, Ice immediately…not in the adult beverage but on the injured area. It would not cure the break, but keep the swelling down. Usually toes are taped together to support from either side. I’m out of school one day as a school nurse ….hard to turn it off and it is good information for you going forward. After 48 hrs. hot wet soaks.

    • Q-Roo Paul | June 13, 2018 at 12:18 pm |

      I went with the ice in the drink angle and I did notice a significant reduction in pain but not swelling…lol.

      Thanks for the tips, Lindy. 🙂

  18. Thank you for your informative blogs on Mexico. We are wintering this year in Mexico and have future plans for permanent residency and have referenced your blog and articles very often and shared with others – keep it up, us Canadian snowbirds appreciate it!

    • Q-Roo Paul | June 13, 2018 at 12:13 pm |

      Thanks for sharing the articles. We really rely on word of mouth because our advertising budget is stuck around the zero mark…lol.

  19. Love your blog! Keep it coming!

  20. Dar Thompson | June 13, 2018 at 11:47 am |

    Did I miss the cost?

  21. Paul, your blog posts are great… but the comment section is pure gold.

    Saludos!

  22. Bobbi McElravey | June 13, 2018 at 12:49 pm |

    I have been living full time in the Cabo San Lucas area for 12 years. I am a single woman, former polo player, lifetime of tennis and every other fun sport as an active athlete my whole life. The point is that I have needed two knee replacements and a couple of other surgeries and my orthopedist in Cabo is the best doctor I have ever known (and I have a bunch of friends who are docs). Point is, there is no substitute for good medicine that comes with great compassion and a personal friendship. This is the typical way for medicine in Baja. Many smart friends come to visit and get their medical and dental work done here…..great quality health care with a vacation thrown in and money in your pocket, too
    .

  23. What would the charge have been without the resident discount?
    Thanks for your blog, I really enjoy it.

  24. Mark in Merida | June 13, 2018 at 3:06 pm |

    Very timely information. I think we’re pretty lucky in Merida also – as one of the medial tourist destinations in Mexico we’re seem to have a great hospital -Star Medica with amazing first class doctors. I love my Orthopedic guy, he takes as long as needed – I have never felt rushed, or he is pushing to get to the next patient, plus he has a great sense of humor – which helps when your getting poked and prodded. He speaks perfect English, and I think our prices are a little lower here; an office visit is $750, X Rays are $500. But what impresses me the most is how quickly you can get an appointment, typically the next day. Plus my doctor gives me his cell phone number, WhatApp contact and typically checks in with me the next day.

  25. Kim in Arizona | June 13, 2018 at 6:00 pm |

    I’m enjoying reading your blog. My husband and I plan to retire to Mexico in the future, your info is very informative. Thanks for your info.

  26. A quick reply to the question about cremation….yes they do. We have a funeral plan with the company called PAFAMF. Very affordable

  27. MICHAEL A ANDERSON | June 13, 2018 at 10:48 pm |

    Happy to hear your okay Paul.Take care and be well.

  28. Thanks for the positive review!

    We had a similar experience in Isla Mujeres with a “dislocated thumb”. As a healthcare professional, I was leery, but impressed once it was all said and done! Cost +/- $100USD for visit, X-rays, anesthesia and closed reduction with casting! The follow up visit with US Doctor indicated that the reduction and casting were “spot on”.

    Hope you and Linda are doing well…

  29. Another informative post, Paul. My own recent experience with health care in the US opened my eyes to how quickly bills can escalate. Your out-of-pocket expenses are less than my co-pays.

    People here don’t seem to care that bills are huge as long as insurance is paying it. That insurance money comes from the insured and their places of employment. Period.

    I don’t want insurance. Insurance is a costly middle-man. I want affordable health care.

    Hope the foot gets better soon!

  30. I hope you feel better soon!

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