Joe’s Stay at Clinica San Antonio, Portoviejo

Last week Joe was complaining of severe pain in his chest that started out as heartburn but became unbearable by Sunday morning. He had not slept for three nights and nothing he took made a difference so we decided to go to Clinica San Antonio. Our dear friend Eva accompanied us and we were seen by the ER doctor and then admitted. It is like we both were admitted because when you go to a hospital in Ecuador you need to bring someone there to help you. I was given a list of medications to buy downstairs in the pharmacy and a nurse came in to set up an IV and give Joe several shots. I was amazed at the size of the room, in the US they would use this as a semi-private room. There was even a bed for me.

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We had never been admitted to a hospital outside of the US and there are many differences. First you must bring all your personal items with you as nothing is supplied. Bring PJ’s, toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, deodorant, brush, washcloth, changes of clothes for a few days and reading material plus any medications you are taking. I asked Eva what Joe needed to bring but completely forgot about anything for me. Whoever is acting as your assistant during your stay needs whatever personal belongings they would use for several days as well. The assistant is the one who goes to the pharmacy to get needed medications and supplies, helps the patient with personal needs like using a urinal etc. The hospital as well as the pharmacy accepted my VISA card to pay for Joe’s stay but the doctors only took cash so be prepared.

It was a very pleasant experience for a hospital stay. We both felt comfortable with the doctor in the ER, the nurse staff on the floor were professional and lovely to deal with. They even did an introduction when the second shift came on duty and the nurse leaving gave an overview of Joe’s situation and his medications to the three nurses coming on duty. Joe’s gastroenterologist’s office was located one floor down from his hospital room, and his endoscopy was fast and painless. Out like a light. All in all it was one of our better experiences with hospitals.

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$80 a day for the room, 24 hour ER Doctor and nursing staff and meals, I can’t say anymore than that!!!!

Bottom line Joe has Barrett’s Esophagus, severe inflamed esophagus from GERD and a hiatal hernia. With a change of medication for his GERD and a complete change of diet he is now pain free and healing. We will need to deal with the hiatal hernia with an operation but not right now.

26 thoughts on “Joe’s Stay at Clinica San Antonio, Portoviejo

  1. Glad to hear that Joe is going to be okay. Thanks so much Nancy for making this a “teachable moment”. Your information is very very useful! Hugs to both of you, and keep us posted when he will have his hernia operation.

  2. Wonderful news and a great description of necessary items needed if one goes to hospital. So very glad Joe is doing better. Bless you both.

  3. Nancy, I’m so sorry to hear Joe was hospitalized, but very glad it wasn’t a horrific experience and that he’s on the mend. Good tips for others this may happen to! Please give him our best wishes for a speedy complete recovery.
    Marilee and Penny

  4. Sorry for all ur Medical problems, glad Joe is feeling better, hiatal hernia is very complex, surgery is very complicated please get a 2nd opinión my brother is a physician in Guayaquil in case u need it let me know. Get well. CC Adler

  5. My prayers are with you both-Hoping for speedy recovery for joe–I had a same problem several years ago-I did take medications but eventually I helped to cure it by diet,Semirecline sleeping habbits, drinking lots of fresh Alloe vera juices and chewing of sugarfree gum many times a day!All the best–Yusuf

  6. Nancy and Joe, So glad you are home and doing so good after the scare. What a nice room you had. Wow! If you were in the states the cost would have been awful. Hope you keep improving! God bless you and be safe. Karen

  7. Is the clinica a private hospital, Nan?

    We heard the other day from an American tourist that she had to go into emergency in Guayaquil and spent a day with the doctor and staff and received all meds etc. free. When she asked why, she was told that that was policy in Ecuador. Is there a difference between the clinica and the ER, I wonder?

    No matter what … imagine … $80 for good care!!!

    • Yes, Clinica San Antonio is a private clinic/hospital. The presidents new law is medical care is available to everyone, if you are a tourist you are taken care of for free, if you are a resident you can get national health insurance through the IESS. No hospital or clinic can turn you away they must treat you, but again there is a difference between a national hospital and a private hospital/clinic. I hope that helps, Nancy

      • Thanks for the clarification, Nancy. It is good to know that good health care is so readily available here. Glad that Joe was able to avail himself of such good care and that he is on the mend.

  8. I am glad Joe is doing much better – I also use the San Antonio Clinic – Last year I was not feeling well, quesy, dizzy for a few days – Went to the clinic – The person at the desk sent me to see Dr. Carlos Robles on the first floor – A gastroenterologist – Because I had A-Fib he sent me first to a heart doc – who signed off – then to the Lab for pages of blood work, then to a neurologist who ordered a brain scan and did tests for my neuropathy – when he signed off – Dr.Carlos Robles did a endoscopy – the anesthesia doc put me out, the doc removed three polyps from my stomach, sent off for a biopsy – A OK – From start to finish the staff was very professional -I stayed one night in a two room suite – A living room and a room with a hospital bed and a bed for Bill, a large window, closet, bathroom. As Nan says someone must be with you as they are the ones who go down stairs to the Pharmacy for the meds, and everything must be brought from home – The whole experience was tranquil, done in a very timely manner – no one acted rushed, or hurried during all of this as in most U.S. hospitals. All the doctors gave me written reports of what procedures they performed in detail and the diagnosis for my docs in the U.S. – The gastro doc gave me a CD of the operation as well – interesting to see what the inside of my stomach looked like – All in all for all of the above – $1600.00 included what we paid for meds – Try getting a brain scan alone in the U.S. for $1600.00 – I have U.S. insurance with a $500.00 deductible for out of country expenses – I sent the bills into my insurance company and received $1100.00 back. – As Nan says – cash for the docs – credit card for the hospital – the Lab also took credit card – I now have all my doctors at San Antonio Clinica – (The also have an ambulance that takes you to doctors or Imaging Center that are not at the clinic – wait for you and bring you back)

    • Audrey, I did not know how to put the experience into words but you said exactly. Tranquil ! Dr. Robles is the doctor who will do some x-rays for Joe before he has surgery and Dr. Adrian Rubinof (who speaks perfect English) will do the actual surgery. Both Joe and I felt comfortable with Dr. Santana who did the endoscopy and Dr. Rubinof who was referred to us because Joe needs the hernia fixed.

  9. Thank you for posting your experience. So very glad Joe received great medical care and is on the road to recovery. Does the clinic have a website that lists services and more information? We have retired on the coast from the states, will be here 2 years in November. My husband needs to see a “good’ doctor and everyone suggests going to Quito. We live 2 hours North of Portoviejo and would like to try the clinic before traveling to Quito. Your help is greatly appreciated.

    • Hi Beth, We have not found a website for the clinica. I would suggest that you either call the clinica (how is your Spanish) and speak to the receptionist she would be able to tell you if the specialty you are looking for has an office…Quito is great but such a long trip for a doctor he may need to see more than an occasional visit. My cardiologist is not in the clinic but my internal medicine doctor and two of Joe’s doctors have offices. I did take a photo of the doctor list but the list is on plexiglass and the reflection made it almost impossible to read….wish I could be more helpful…

      • Thank you so much, you have been very helpful…even the smallest bits of information help. We are going to check the clinic out tomorrow so I will let you know how it goes….wishing you and Joe continued health and happiness here in Ecuador.

          • Nancy I can’t thank you enough for sharing your story. We went to San Antonio today, no appointment, they took us in to talk to the dentist and she referred us to a Molecular Biologist, Dr. Angel Rameriz, he has his own office in Portoviejo. He treated my husband and we are scheduled for a follow-up in a few weeks. We are very hopeful for the first time in almost two years that he will be healed. Both the clinic and Dr. Rameriz’ s were top notch, professional, state of the art equipment and facilities…Just like the states. When it comes to health and well-being it is such a comfort to have this available and closer to home.

            • Beth, I am so happy you and your husband were able to connect with someone who may be able to help. I also found that the equipment was pretty modern and the professionalism and attitude of the doctors and nurses to be exceptional…I have never felt rushed or on the clock when seeing the doctors here. I hope all goes well your next visit, glad you read about our experience and were able to find someone nearer to your home than Quito. be well, Nancy

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