My trip to the hospital in Peru

Two days ago over night a freckle on my face more than doubled in size. Scary, yes? We decided I really should go to a doctor about it. This morning in Cusco, Peru the first thing we did was go to a doctor. The primary care physician was worried about it and said I needed to see a specialist. I was pretty stressed out by this point and could have really used a Diet Coke, my comfort food, but apparently they have never heard of Diet Coke in these parts.

I’m pretty sure that anyone reading my blog knows what I think of the American medical system and what a sham it is but today I had an experience to reiterate it.

They called an ambulance and I was shuttled to the hospital to see a dermatologist. She said it’s nothing dangerous and not to worry about it and prescribed me some cream to apply to it every night and told me to apply and re-apply sunscreen every 2 hours.

Total cost? $75 USD.

  • Initial doctor’s visit
  • Ambulance ride to hospital
  • Consultation with specialist
  • Ambulance ride back

Let’s run that down for what it would cost in the US: Of course we wouldn’t take an ambulance for an overgrown freckle so we can rule that out but a visit with a primary care physician is at least $75. Then  to see a dermatologist would cost about $500.  So that’s close to $600. Of course if you were to need an ambulance ride in the US it’s usually $800-$2000 one way and they hauled me both ways. That means low balling my visit would be $2200 in the US.

That means it’s cheaper to buy a round trip airline ticket to Peru, visit with a doctor and go back home in the States than it is to see a doctor Stateside. Is that messed up or what?

I know there are plenty of people in border states that go over to Mexico to get their dental work done because it’s so much cheaper there but I just had my first real life experience with how reasonably priced medical care can and should be.

If you are reading this I hope you are outraged.


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