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What’s it Like to Be in the Hospital in the Dominican Republic?

Getting sick in a foreign country can be a frightening experience.  So what’s it like to be in the hospital in the Dominican Republic?  What can you expect?

Firstly, don’t worry.  The care here is as good, or maybe even better, than where you live in North America. Let me explain:

I’ve sadly had too much experience with the medical system in the DR. My late husband had chronic kidney stones and had many treatments both in Canada and the DR.  The medical care he received in the DR was faster, as modern, and he even had his urologist’s cell phone number!  I’ve had foot surgery in the DR because the Canadian doctors made a mess of the original surgery.  My husband, sadly, lost his life in 2021 after severe Covid, but even then, he received care he never would have received in Canada, and with medications not available.

 

A very recent experience:

In February 2024, I had my own hospital stay, and that’s what I’d like to share now.  In almost 20-years of going to, and living in, the DR, I’ve never once gotten sick, but in February I somehow managed to contract Dengue Fever, Covid and an intestinal parasite – all at once.  I was a very, very sick girl.

Centro Medico Bournigal
Centro Medico Bournigal

That’s the bad news.  Now here’s the good news:

  • All of my care was totally covered by my medical insurance
  • I firstly had a great general practitioner doctor, who came to my house and began treating me.  He first did various test like blood work and got me results, then started medical care.  After a day it was decided that I would require hospitalization.
  • I went to Bournical Medical Center in Puerto Plata and was immediately seen by an internist who admitted me and ordered more tests.
  • I was given a private room (and my new husband, Dean, was able to stay with me in my hospital room which was so wonderful).
  • I had four doctors:  an internist, gastroenterologist, a haematologist, and a general doctor who oversaw my care
  • I had CT scans, chest x-rays, and many other tests – with no wait times.  This is true no matter when you go for tests – even as an outpatient.  You also don’t wait to see specialists.
  • I was in hospital a total of 6-days with a follow-up appt four days after I was sent home.
  • The care was as usual, excellent, with English speaking, well-trained doctors who were kind, attentive, and knew exactly what they were doing.  The facility had modern equipment, a relaxed atmosphere, and my room had a seaview 🙂

The combination of everything I had made my condition extremely serious and could have resulted in death.  The training and experience of the medical team, particularly as it relates to how serious Dengue Fever can be, saved my life.

The cost of my care and treatment was covered by my medical insurance.  Travel medical insurance is accepted with no out of pocket expenses.  If you live in the DR, purchasing medical insurance will (depending on the coverage you choose) cost about $2000-$3,000 US/year for a couple.  This will also give you coverage for most prescriptions, lab tests, and even some dental.

The International Center at Bournical Medical Center exists ONLY to help expats and tourists who don’t know how to navigate the medical system in the DR – it’s designed for non-Spanish speakers.  For more information, watch the video below.

Centro Medico Bournigal
Bournigal Medical Center
Bournigal Medical Center

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