• Seeing a medical specialist in Panama City, Panama

    Good morning everybody,

    During the interview with Michael Drouillard from www.pancanconnection.ca last weekend, he asked about medical care here in Panama and whether or not I thought the doctors are competent. I explained that I’m very impressed with medical care here and that not only is it extremely cheap compared with what I was used to paying just in co-pays back home, I’ve found that the doctors aren’t afraid to diagnose the problem. 

    Because of the fear of being sued for malpractice, and the desire to earn heaps of cash (not all doctors, but quite a few), it’s very difficult to get a doctor to diagnose a problem in the States. They’ll tell you it might possibly be this problem, but you’ll need to come back next week for a checkup, and it just goes on and on. I know there are some doctors checking out the site, and a good friend of mine here in Panama was a nurse, so I’m not saying this to insult anyone. It’s just a sad truth and I understand the reasons behind it (the malpractice concerns, not the desire for heaps of money).

    But I have to say that there’s a sigh of relief that comes over me whenever I visit a doctor here. In Panama, most doctors will tell you immediately what they think the problem is and most of the time (in my experience) they’ve been correct. 

    I wrote recently about my wife’s trip to the doctor near our home and how the bill was only a total of $23 including the consultation and the injection they gave her to help give her immune system a jolt. And I mentioned how I saw a doctor in San Carlos for only $1. If you’ve checked out any of our Panama For Real videos, I always give a budget breakdown on the costs of living in whatever area we’re covering in the video. When I get to medical care, I usually say that the average cost of a doctor visit is about $25 (quite often it’s even less). I also mention on the budget breakdown that a trip to the specialist usually costs about $50. That’s what I’m going to be talking about in this post.

    Centro Especializado San Fernando

    My son has eczema, so our regular doctor sent us to see a dermatologist. He referred us to Dr. Tiberio A. Rodriguez Calvo. This is the second time, from two separate doctors, that we’ve been referred to this specialist, so we knew he must be good. We’ve been thoroughly impressed by his professionalism and competency.  

    His office is in the building behind the McDonald’s on Via España, where Hospital San Fernando is located, on the 9th floor. Getting to the building is kind of confusing. You have to enter the parking lot right next to McDonald’s (it’s a big shopping center), take a parking ticket, and then circle around to the Centro Especializado San Fernando. Most of the parking is in the garage under the building.

    Marlene waiting with our son

    Marlene waiting with our son

    To see this specialist, we only paid $50. We didn’t need to show any important paperwork. My wife just filled out a short form. If the form asks for your cedula, and you don’t have one, you just write down your passport number, or the number that’s on your immigration card. It’s as easy as that. The doctor saw my son, confirmed that it was eczema causing his problem, and wrote us a prescription for a skin cream. We don’t need to go back and see him unless the cream doesn’t help. No $50 follow up just for the heck of it.

    Dr. Tiberio A. Rodriguez Calvo

    If you’d like to contact Dr. Tiberio A. Rodriguez Calvo, you’ll see his contact info in the photo below. He speaks English and is very good at what he does. And while $50 might not seem super affordable, when you consider the average co-pay in the U.S. is probably that or more by now, it’s not too bad. Also, keep in mind that the $50 is for the consultation. If he has to do any other procedure, he’ll probably schedule you for a separate appointment, and like with any other doctor, the costs vary depending on what needs to get done. The woman seeing the doctor before us paid $100 to get some kind of skin lesion removed.

    Cell: 6615-5399, Offc: 203-7383, email: tiberod@hotmail.com

    I’ve seen a couple of specialists here in Panama City, and I’ve never paid more than $50 for a consultation. I have herniated discs and degenerative disc disease in my back, and the last time I saw a specialist, I paid $50.

    Where we got our sons’ orthopedic shoes

    When we took our kids to see an orthopedic doctor, in Hospital San Fernando (right across the street from the dermatologist), we paid $40 for each of my two sons. It turned out, both of them needed special orthopedic shoes because their feet are pointing inward a little too much (pigeon-toed). We were sent to the place in the photo above (in the same building as the dermatologist) to buy their shoes. I think we paid $60 for each pair of shoes. They took my sons’ measurements and ordered the shoes. 

    Hopefully this article has set your mind at ease about the medical situation here in Panama. Always ask fellow expats and friends to find out which doctors they prefer. The expat community here is tighter than you might think. Everyone knows someone else and that leads to some great contacts. I’m sure that even in some of the Facebook groups you’ll find people willing to share their experiences with Panama doctors. I can honestly say that I feel completely at ease with the medical situation here.  

    Thanks again for reading. As always, please… 

    Like our Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Panama-For-Real/418977398194595?ref=hl 

    Follow us on Twitter at:  https://twitter.com/PanamaForReal 

    Share and subscribe to our Youtube channel at: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6N7Ih2bjD0FjOBnDg_-Flg 

    Plus, if you haven’t already subscribed to our e-letter, put your email address into the box in the top right corner of this page, for bi-weekly updates on our videos and special reports: http://www.panamaforreal.com/the-pfr-mission/

    6,594 total views, 1 views today

    Print Friendly, PDF & Email

2 Responsesso far.

  1. Meivis says:

    You wrote “I have herniated discs and degenerative disc disease in my back, and the last time I saw a specialist, I paid $50″… Could you send me the name of the Dr. that you saw. I have the same back problem. I am looking for a second/third opinion. I will in Panama in two weeks.

    • Chris says:

      Hi Meivis,

      Thanks so much for checking out the site and for commenting. The doctor I was talking about is Dr. Carlos Briceño. I only saw him once and it was about 4 years ago. I have a military related injury, so I starting seeing a different doctor once I got approved for FMP. Dr. Briceño is actually a neurosurgeon who also specializes in the spine. I think his price for a consultation has gone up quite a bit as he’s supposed to be one of the best (I just found his contact info on the U.S. Embassy website). You should definitely give him a call first at Tel: 206-2599. If you need another doctor to see here, this is the list of Orthopedic doctors listed on the embassy website. Dr. Briceño is listed on the site under neurosurgery. The link to the site I’m referencing is: http://panama.usembassy.gov/medical2010.html


      Dr. Luis F. Amado Ibarra
      Centro Médico Nacional
      38th St & Justo Arosemena Ave, Bella Vista 2nd floor, #203
      E-mail: clinicaesp1@cwpanama.net
      Fax: 227-8811
      Specialization: orthopedics, knee and shoulder, trauma

      Dr. Samuel Edwards
      Consultorios Médicos Paitilla
      53d St & Balboa Ave, 5th floor, North, #514
      Phone: 393-8317/ 206-2587 Fax: 269-4368/393-8318 cell: 6612-5589
      E-mail: samedwards@cwpanama.net
      Languages: English and Spanish

      Dr. Ariel Saldaña
      Consultorios Medicos Paitilla
      53d St & Balboa Ave, 5th floor, North, #505
      Tel: 206-2587/269-5222 Pager: 264-5155 Fax: 264-9036
      Specialty: Orthopedic Surgery, Sports Medicine, replacements
      Languages: Spanish and English

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© 2013-2018 Panama For Real All Rights Reserved -- Copyright notice by Blog Copyright