Susan A Mahalick

Medical Tourism in Ensenada

por: Susan A Mahalick |
Columnista de San Diego Red

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If you live in San Diego you already know about the high cost of medical and dental care even with insurance, co pays, etc. For years some savvy people have been traveling to Tijuana from Southern California for plastic surgery, dental implants, cataract surgery, especially as much of this care is considered to be elective so it is not covered by most plans. Another possibility is coming to Baja for treatments not currently available in California like stem cell therapy. There is even a clinic in Tijuana that treats stage four breast cancer patients which has a high success rate with an alternative treatment that changes the blood chemistry to fight off the cancer.

Well there is another alternative for those people who might not like to travel to the border city of Tijuana and it is Ensenada. Ensenada is forty minutes south of the border along a scenic highway abutting the Pacific Ocean. This beautiful city is considered by many to be a pearl with its great restaurants, cruise ship port, cultural events and proximity to the Guadalupe Wine Valley. 557 events occur in Ensenada every year and can be followed on the Baja Times newspaper which is available online at: www.bajatimes.com

So why not consider coming to Baja for a mini vacation, taking in an event like the annual and popular Blues Festival and consulting with one of the fine local doctors for a fraction of what you would pay in the states for the same level of care? There is a plethora of fine hotels and motels in the area. Articles are published which compare this region with its availability of Baja Med cuisine with Tijuana, since the local produce and seafood are abundant and used liberally by the fine restaurants in Ensenada and the wine valley. Or come for some of the wine events that are part of Vendimia every year in August. Ever been to a paella and wine festival? There is never a shortage of interesting things to do in Ensenada. Below are some experiences I have had personally in Ensenada for my own medical care to guide you in what you can expect across the border.

I had a small white pimple on the left side of my nose. I tried to get rid of it to no avail. One day it became something else entirely. I had no money at the time to do anything about it, but was assured by friends who had had skin cancer that it was not life threatening. I got the name of a specialist in Ensenada and made an appointment. The initial consultation was $500 pesos, or around $40. He examined the lesion and confirmed that it was indeed cancerous. We then discussed possible treatments. Burn it off, but concern was that it might be deeper than thought and might leave scarring. Surgery would be expensive and require some reconstruction. The last proposal was for an eggplant extract cream that seemed like something I might try. He would not charge me for further office visits to confirm progress. I would be his human experiment. The cream was available on the internet, costing $129 including shipping. I ordered it and started right away. The progress was rapid as layers of skin peeled away from the affected area. Some stinging occurred when I applied it for about twenty to thirty minutes. It took two months of application and covering the area with medical tape to make the lesion go almost completely away. I will to see Dr. Orozco soon to show him how wonderful this process was. I was his experiment, a successful one.

I had a bad cataract form in my right eye. It was very difficult to read. Driving I saw quadruple images of cars and could not tell a shadow from a pothole. This was during the day, as driving at night would be impossible with the glare of headlights. I went to see Dr. Corral in Ensenada for a consultation. He assured me he could fix my problem for $1400 which would include a lens inserted in the eye to facilitate seeing with further correction. He made out a business card with the price to lock me in for that amount. When I got the funds I went back for measurement of the lens. The surgery took about an hour but felt like much longer. The preparation took about the same amount of time. There was no pain, it merely felt weird to have someone irrigate under your cornea. The cataract was emulsified and dissolved. The lens was inserted in the same tiny incision. I had 6 days of follow up visits where progress was monitored and a laser assisted with drying the eye without possibility of infection. The bonus to this procedure is that for the first time since I was three years of age I could now give up wearing corrective lenses of any type. My glasses are gone! I see better than I ever was able to before. The left eye sees close and the right eye sees far.

Before I could get the cataract surgery I had to be examined by a Retinologist to ensure the entire eye was as free from any defect that could be worsened by the surgery. I went to see Dr. Corral’s trusted friend, Dr. Iván Velasco Fuentes. Everything checked out fine and I was interested in the entire procedure which showed me the back of my eye on a screen. Ensenada is easy to get to from La Mision where I live, with lots of free parking near the medical offices of the different doctors on the north side of the city. My Retinologist, Ophthalmologist and Dermatologist are all within blocks of each other. The cost of consultation with all three is $40 US. I am exceedingly happy with medical care in Mexico which I can afford out of pocket. All three doctors speak perfect English.

Dr J. Esteban Orozco La Roche, Ensenada Dermatologist 646-178-0088 cellular 646-178-8247 office

e-mail: esteban_orozco@yahoo.com

Dr. Enrique Corral E. Ophthalmologist 646-178-1877 e-mail: ofalmo_2000@yahoo.com

Dr. IvánVelasco Fuentes, Retinologist 6146-174-0366 646-174-0366 e-mail: retina@oftalmo.com.mx

Susan A Mahalick has a book about living in Baja that explains much of what a person needs to know about living here. My Gold Coast-----Baja can be found on Amazon.com.