By Suzanne A. Marshall the April 2019 Edition
If you live in Manzanillo or ‘winter’ here, chances are you’ve needed some medical intervention or advice at some point. Where we all hail from, be it Canada, USA, Scotland or some other part of the world, chances are you’ve never had the privilege of calling a doctor and having him come to your home.
Even as a small child, I can barely remember this occurring, though it may have at one time. No, nowadays we’re far more familiar with the ‘hurry up and wait’ situation. Yes, indeed.
First you make an appointment to see the doctor, then you wait whatever time that may be. Once you’re there, it’s time for blood work and perhaps X-ray imaging; then you make another appointment to go to the lab for tests. Then you wait. In order to find out results, you must make another appointment with the doctor because the lab doesn’t share that with you. Then you wait.
Once at the doctor’s office, you finally find out the diagnosis and, if you’re lucky, some sort of treatment is initiated (unless of course they need more tests) and then you repeat the process and of course you wait again. An exaggeration? Perhaps for some. But it has been a reality for many of us.
There are those that have concerns about the healthcare in Mexico. Personally, I do not, having become more familiar with the life here over these past dozen years. But, indeed, it is currently under review by the newly elected President López Obrador and his new government.
As I understand it, they are reviewing the public system that is comprised of two separate entities ‘Seguro Popular’ and ‘IMSS’ which deliver services via local hospitals and public clinics. And, of course, there are all of the private practices and doctors’ offices that provide various healthcare specialties.
The government of Mexico is talking about merging the two public systems and is working towards ‘universal healthcare services’. It makes sense to me. This is the term we use in Canada for our healthcare system and indeed no one is turned away. The quality of services is very good, though there is a tremendous strain on the country now. This is largely due to the ‘baby boom’ population bulge, as this huge demographic reaches retirement and old age. But the philosophy of ‘universal health’ is usually one that most individuals would agree is ideal.
In Manzanillo, indeed in Mexico, I believe that one important factor that allows for better and faster access is the much younger population and the lack of ‘baby boomers’ who are the result of a statistical birth rate jump after World War II. If you show up at a private hospital, for example, you will be seen, examined, and often leave with an X-ray photo under your arm or an ultrasound report. You will have received advice for treatment and prescriptions, if needed. Sometimes there’s a doctor with you who has been guiding you through the process. And, I might add here, that the costs are unbelievably reasonable.
Maybe you’ve just got the flu or a mild injury that needs re-view. Again, this can be done in your home, if you’re one of the lucky ones. The only problem might be the great demand for this particular doctor. His name is Dr. Thomas MartinezDr. Tom was born in San Jose, California. Educated in the Unit-ed States, Tom was in the US air force for four and a half years in the dental field. After leaving the air force he proceeded to study molecular, cellular and developmental biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz as an undergrad. He then chose to come to medical school in Mexico to learn Spanish and intended to return to California fluent in the Spanish language, which is so prevalent in California’s population base.
Dr. Tom received his Medico Cirujano (Medical) degree from the University of Guadalajara. His intention was to return to practice in Northern California. But Mexico had grown on him during his university years and he could envision a simpler lifestyle and the ability to independently practice medicine and skip the bureaucratic systems elsewhere. Here, his skills can be effectively concentrated on patient care.
Tom is a family man, with a supportive wife and six-year-old daughter. One can imagine that all of his spare time is spent with his family and that they understand the good work he does for this community. I personally know many people who are grateful for this ‘at-your-home medical service’. Mary says: “On my first meeting with Dr. Tom, I knew he was going to be an important person in my life; someone that would enable me to manage my many health issues.
Over the past four years, Dr. Tom has become my “go-to person” for my health issues and I trust him completely to deal empathetically and appropriately with each situation. He also makes home visits day and night. That’s what I need, the personal touch, someone who knows ME, knows ALL my issues, someone who cares.”
Diane says “concerned, caring, thorough, respectful, composed, assuring, empathic, resourceful, persistent, energetic, capable, trustworthy, confident, positive are just a few of the distinctive traits of Dr. Tom! It was Nov 2018 and my pain and diarrhea had become uncontrollable; so I called Dr. Tom. After conferring with me regarding the problem, he communicated to me that he “thought” he could resolve my problem.
His sharp perception of my problem and his rational attitude to solve my problem were remarkable. He ordered hospital scans and took me to a specialist. He was determined to get me “well”. It was a difficult challenge; but I kept my faith in Dr.Tom! For three-plus months, he came to my condo to treat me he applied his detailed knowledge with his unlimited source of energy.
He diligently proceeded with a positive attitude to resolve my problem. Throughout these three-plus months, he cultivated in me an awareness of how important it is to drink “water” in order to enjoy a richer, fuller life! I am not thoroughly cured; but I am 60% better than I was in November. Therefore, I will continue my sessions with Dr. Tom until leaving the sunny shores of Manzanillo. I am ever so grateful for Dr. Tom who had the determination and fortitude to find the cause of my problems and graciously lead me down the road to recovery.”
These are powerful testimonials to the personal attention and knowledge that patients are receiving from Dr. Tom. I, too, have benefited from his services and wonder if it will be necessary to ‘clone’ this skilled individual who makes our lives so much better.
One thing for sure is that there will never be a lack of demand and a large population of expats living in Manzanillo are very grateful that he is here to give us his support.
Suzanne A. Marshall hails from western Canada and has been living the good life in Manzanillo over the past 8 years. She is a wife, mom and grandma. She is retired from executive business management where her writing skills focused on bureaucratic policy, marketing and business newsletters. Now she shares the fun and joy of writing about everyday life experiences in beautiful Manzanillo, Mexico, the country, its people, the places and the events.