The question of how, or how well, will my Dental and Medical needs be served in Ecuador, is a “pregunta” (the Spanish word for question!) that as you have probably already anticipated, is not at all an uncommon one to be posed by a new Resident or someone who is still in the “planning stage” of becoming a new Resident of Ecuador. And so, as many others before you have naturally sought an answer to this question, this article will serve to illuminate what the quality of care in Ecuador is really like when you make a visit to the Dentist or Doctor for a check-up or for any type treatment/procedure.
Let’s imagine the quite realistic scenario that you wake up on one ordinary Friday morning, and you feel an ache in your tooth. You assume that you must have just slept on your jaw in a bad position, or maybe you “beat” your tooth with your toothbrush too hard the night before. So you decide to wait until tomorrow, that being Saturday. But when you wake up late morning on Saturday after having had a late night of socializing at any number of always delightful Expat functions the night before, your tooth still hurts, but now worse than it did yesterday. Now you’re thinking, uh-oh, I’ve got a problem here. But your problem is now compounded by the fact that as you had woken up late that Saturday morning, the Dentist’s office is about to close for the remainder of the weekend ahead. You’re now thinking to yourself with your dismayed face in your hands, that the WAIT until Monday could make for a much more painful experience than if you had just visited the Dentist on the Friday before!
Well, notwithstanding the unfortunate series of weekend events that transpired in the immediately above paragraph’s imagined but quit common scenario, the GOOD NEWS is that when you finally do arrive at the Dentist’s office on that following Monday, you will usually be in for a nice surprise, as the gentle, considerate and professional touch of your Dentist carefully examines and treats your painful tooth (or any other dental woe that had brought you to visit the Dentist in the first place).
You see, Ecuador Dentists receive effectively the same exact training as North American and European Dentists do, and in fact, they often do part or all of their dental training in places such as the US, Canada, Italy, etc. Plus, many (if not all) of the Dental supplies, chairs and machines used in any Ecuadorian Dental Clinic are manufactured in the same countries and by the same corporations where North American and European Dentists buy those same most necessary items for their own Dental practices too! Finally, REPUTATION is a very important word as well as concept in Ecuador (some might say it is the only important word and concept in Ecuador..), and so, if a Dentist does not serve you in a courteous, effective, gentle, and overall professional manner and at a fair price too don’t forget, that such bad patient experience can and usually will travel far and wide to many of your fellow Expat constituent acquaintances and friends whose warning you away from a particular Dentist can often prevent you from receiving a “toothache” in place of the more usually clichéd latter reference that is of a “heartache”.
Moving onto the Medical side of things, a Medical Doctor’s visit in Ecuador generally entails a brief discussion with the Doctor in English with him and/or his English Medical Assistant translator present by his side, or if you know enough Spanish then you can happily speak with him in his native tongue instead. From their, a short exam with your shirt on or off will generally occur, including the normal checking of your reflexes as well as vital signs (all the same standard exam routine that usually occurs in a North American or European visit to the Doctor). Ecuadorian Doctors are not usually pill-pushers or surgery-happy, as they believe more in the ability of the body to heal itself with proper care, diet and watchful analysis. However, if it is clear upon physical examination that you have for example, a bacterial infection, then any good Ecuadorian Doctor will immediately provide you with a prescription to purchase the appropriate antibiotic necessary to kill the offending organism that is trifling with your body. If you are instead nursing a painful knee, hip, shoulder, etc., once again, a true professional Ecuadorian Doctor will offer that he can either inject an anti-inflammatory (usually a NATURAL ANTI-INFLAMMATORY at that and NOT a cortisone shot!) and/or indicate which Physical Therapist you should use, and he will often even schedule the Physical Therapy session for you with the Physical Therapist on the phone or in person (or if the Doctor is really well set up in his office for patients with problem joints, he might well already have a Physical Therapist working in his same Clinic ready to serve his patients how they best need to be).
Lastly, Medical Doctors in Ecuador receive effectively the same training as their North American & European counterparts, and much less red-tape is associated with their office operations and treatment protocols at that, as the total length of your visit to the office is usually measured in minutes and NOT hours, how is ALTERNATIVELY the typical case in North America and Europe when you go for a sometimes half-day long outing to the Doctor, for which as you already well know in being an Expat coming from either North America or Europe, “those guys” sure do know how to charge!
Nicholas Barringer serves as Administrator of Operations of the Find Health in Ecuador Dental & Medical Clinic in Cuenca, Ecuador, and for purposes of discussing your Dental or Medical needs or questions, is available via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, via US Phone Number at 1-941-227-0114 or on his Cuenca clinic’s phone line of 074.108.745