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Honduran Medical System

For the first time in 6 months I do not have pain in my foot, thanks to Dr. Gonzales.

Just a comparison, of 2 very different medical systems.  On August 2nd I broke my foot water skiing in Canada.  I had an X-ray taken in one hospital then sent to see an Orthopedic Surgeon the next day at 10:00 am in another Hospital an hour away from my home.  I was basically then checked into the hospital to await surgery later that day, August 3.   After being bumped and bumped and bumped, I was finally operated on at 10:30 pm on August 5th (3.5 days after I crushed the bone in my foot)  Now I don’t blame my Dr. for this (he worked over time trying to get me in), it was so typical of the Canadian Health Care system, many people were bumped and they only had 2 operating rooms in a major hospital because Orthopedic surgeons were on strike in the Lower Mainland on BC.

Anyway, I don’t mean to complain I’m just pointing out some differences that people may not be aware of. This is just one of the many reasons why I love Honduras.

So six months after having the surgery on my foot and having a titanium plate put in I was still in pain, walking was a chore and walking on sand was almost impossible.  So I decided to go and see a Dr. Carlos at the hospital by the beach in La Ceiba.   I don’t speak great Spanish, well actually I don’t speak Spanish at all, so quickly realizing this the nurse I had been trying to speak with promptly left and came back with whom I assume was an administrator at the hospital who spoke perfect English.

She informed me that Dr. Carlos was in surgery but how could she help?  I told her I needed to see an orthopedic surgeon, (expecting like Canada to have to see a family Doctor, then be referred to a specialist and then if I was lucky perhaps get in to see on 1 month later) she asked me to have a seat and a few minutes later returned with an appointment for me to return in one hour to see Dr. Gonzales the Orthopedic Surgeon.  So one  hour later they took an x-ray and gave it to me to take with me to Dr. Gonzales.  x – ray cost 300 lempiras (lps) roughly $15.00.  I took the x-ray to Dr. Gonzales at the Medicentro, had to wait about 10 minutes to see him.  He looked at the x ray and pointed out the reason for my ongoing pain;

Titanium Plate

  1. the plate was too big for my foot
  2. it extended over my toe joint (no wonder I couldn’t bend that toe)

He then scheduled me for surgery at 3:30 pm on Monday.   Gave me the information to take back to the hospital and said he’d see me then.

The nurse had informed me to not eat or drink anything for 8 hours prior to surgery and to come to the hospital at 1:00 pm, Monday.   No paper work, no red tape fuss or muss just come back Monday.

Monday I arrived and was warmly greeted by the administrator, since I had nobody with me they offered to lock up my belongings  in their safe.   They insisted we count the money together and itemize everything in my purse and they left me with a copy of it and then locked up my purse.

I was taken to the ward where a strictly Spanish speaking nurse met me, we did the usual standard procedures, blood pressure, questions on last meal, (lots of hand gestures used in this but we communicated fine.)  At 1:45 Dr. Gonzales arrived and asked me if I’d like to have the surgery done early, he said he’d be ready to go at 2:00, early!  I was flabbergasted.

Shorlty after I was wheeled into the operating room and administered anesthesia and a couple hours later or so, I woke up. My Dr. was in within minutes to see how I was doing and I was given some pain medication, back to sleep I went.  I was semi awake, enough to know that the nurse never left my room and was right there to assist me the second I really truly started to awake.

They brought me my belongings, double checked to make sure all was there, gave me a prescription for antibiotics and pain killers, a follow up appointment was set and then I was  wheeled out to meet my taxi driver Luis.  Luis, by the way had taken my truck to the mechanic to be worked on while I was in the hospital and would not accept any payment from me for that.  I LOVE Honduras.

Besides the efficiency of everything and how easy everything was what really blew me away was when I took my bandage off to change it.  Unlike my Canadian Dr. who had created a Frankenstein scar on my foot,  Dr. Gonzales had cut exactly in the old incision but stitched it up on the inside which left only a small tie on each end, very clean neat and tidy.  As a matter of fact 10 days later I was able to slide the thread out myself having a fully healed foot and no pain for the first time in 6 months.  This allowed me to take my very first Scuba Diving trip to Cayos Cochinos the same day, stay tuned…

Bottom Line:

my foot 5 hours after surgery

5 hours after surgery

  • Foot Surgery, medication, private nurse, hospital care and follow up appointment total cost 10,096 lps $534 USD
  • The ability to walk and run without pain…Priceless!


You’ve gotta LOVE the Honduran Medical System!

Comments (15)

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  1. so glad for you Michelle that your foot is finally good.

  2. Kristy says:

    And the US medical system is going the way of the canadian medical system…glad you won’t look like frankenstein!!!!

  3. TM says:

    What they have in Honduras is not as bad as people might think,there are some good doctors but you have to remember $500.00 is two months worth of work for most people there, so most Hondurans would not have been able to afford your operation.
    Hospital Atlantida in La Ceiba is much like a public hospital (there is a nominal fee)if you want to see what the real situation is like spend a day there then you will realize the Canadian system isn’t so bad.
    Local doctors have their private businesses but do some work at Atlantida.My doctor here La Ceiba works there sometimes in emergency has told me some stories about shortages of supplies and how some of the doctors mistreat people because they are poor.
    Atlantida has a new location and I believe it is much better now however a few years ago I was there briefly and the power went out and no generators went on ,all I could think of was how I hoped no one was in the middle of surgery.

    • Michelle says:

      Thanks for your comment I really like hearing every one’s opinions and experiences. I am sure that a lot of the other hospitals may have different experiences for everyone, especially for locals who may not be able to afford treatment. The hospital where I had my surgery was on the beach in La Ceiba and all I can say is it was a pleasurable experience for me.

  4. corry says:

    Michelle, I have power tools,I could have fixed you for nothing. Seriously sounds amazing. Brazil was very similar. Prescriptions…you don’t need no prescriptions. Over the counter and 75% + less cost than here in BC. AND cordiality to boot. Looking forward to seeing you all soon. Hugs Corry

    • Michelle says:

      Corry you always make me smile. You’re right, prescriptions? What are they again? Loving Honduras, looking forward to having you here. I regards to your email, if you’re looking at Costa Rica for property seriously consider Honduras, we have a lot of great deals in our immediate neighborhood. Andrea said hi and gives you a hug.

  5. Kate says:

    So cxan you possibly email me for more info.
    I am needing to go into La Ceiba Monday and have been told to go to Medicentro to see dr. Salazer. You say the xray cost you 300lemps? When was this? That seems cheap

    • Michelle says:

      Hi Kate,

      I had my operation shortly after moving here probably February 2011. Medicentro be a little more money but they have great specialists there. I see a dermatologist that is very knowledgeable and is 500 lempira per consultation. Feel free to email me through the contact us page if you have any questions, I’m not an expert but I’ve made some great connections.


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  8. Dee Roberson says:

    Michelle: Would you please tell me how you made arrangements to go to the Honduras Medical Clinic? How did you make your dr. appt; how/where you stayed, etc?
    Thanks so much!
    My daughter needs ortho surgery & has no insurance.

    • Michelle says:

      Hi Dee,

      I live in Honduras.

      If you want to pursue this I can recommend my surgeon for you he was great. Also most private hospitals here have rooms you can stay in. Some are fully equipped apartment style. Things are very reasonable here.

      Also, how old is your daughter? If she is young I totally recommend the Shriners. They treated my daughter from the time she was 3 – 21. They have amazing Doctors and it is FREE. Contact the shriners for sure.

      Hope that helps,


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